Community Fund grant supports STHCS/Mercy Flight Stop the Bleed program

Very few people outside the medical field expect to encounter a situation where they must provide life-saving trauma care – but every day unsuspecting bystanders have to do just that.

A recent grant from the Community Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation supporting the Stop the Bleed program will help ensure significantly more people would be prepared and adequately trained should the need ever arise.

Members of the CRCF board of directors and staff gather around the Stop the Bleed kits purchased with funding from a recent Community Fund grant. They are joined by STHCS’ Donna Kahm and Abigail Kahm Mostowy and Mercy Flight Flight Paramedic Brian Wilcox.

The Stop the Bleed program became a nationally backed concept in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting, with the goal of providing training and kits with necessary tools to help civilian bystanders become “immediate responders” capable of providing potentially life-saving care to bleeding trauma patients.

Southern Tier Health Care System’s local Stop the Bleed campaign was launched in November 2017 and has already locally trained 332 individuals, according to STHCS President and CEO Donna Kahm. Training sessions are hosted by certified instructors from both STHCS and Mercy Flight of WNY.

Mrs. Kahm stressed that the training provided through the program could save the life of a person at any time, not just in the case of a large-scale catastrophe like a mass shooting.

“Numerous risks for catastrophic bleeding events exist everywhere from our own kitchens, garages, farms and hunting camps to schools, government offices, factories and other public spaces where we used to feel safe,” Mrs. Kahm said. “People must be prepared, educated and equipped to react in an emergency.

“Most who arrive at a hospital emergency department for a life-threatening bleeding event don’t arrive via ambulance under the care of trained professionals,” Kahm added. “The sad reality is the vital responsibility of first aid often rests on a family member, friend, passerby or even the injured person themselves.”

According to a 2015 pilot study by Academic Emergency Medicine, only one in five people with no medical training were able to correctly apply a commercially available tourniquet to a manikin’s leg in less than 60 seconds.

Providing instruction to those individuals more than doubled the rate of successful placements.

CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit said the Foundation’s board of directors agreed that this education for community members was vital, and so approved a grant of $1,983 from its Community Fund.

kit
Stop the bleed kits purchased with funds from the Community Fund grant in support of the program.

Mrs. Kahm said the grant will allow the program to leverage match funding for additional emergency kits. For example, members of an organization could complete the training and receive five bleeding-control kits based on need in exchange for agreeing to match with the purchase of an additional five kits.

“We already have several municipal governments, schools, colleges and other organizations willing to take that step,” Mrs. Kahm said. “Of course, we are willing to work with agencies that may not have the capacity to match. But our hope is this program will inspire participating agencies with the incentive to invest in their own safety and well-being with proper training and equipment. This will take CRCF’s initial investment in our program and exponentially expand its impact throughout the region.”

Not only did CRCF’s board of directors see the importance of financially supporting the project, but a number of board and committee members decided to undergo the training themselves, Buchheit added.

“The Community Fund is our board of director’s vehicle for responsive grantmaking,” said Buchheit. “While none of us hope to ever have to use this training, our board saw it essential to support making this program available to more agencies in our community and participate in it ourselves.”

Caya
CRCF board member Andrew Caya practices packing a wound at Stop the Bleed training.

Already 32 Stop the Bleed emergency kits have been purchased for locations that undergo training.

Kahm expressed excitement that CRCF’s backing will allow more wide-spread impact for the program in the community.

“I can’t thank our good friends at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation enough for recognizing the need for a strong Stop the Bleed campaign in our region,” said Kahm, “It’s wonderful that we live in a community that so generously supports programs that make our area a better, safer place.”

Donations can be made to the Community Fund at CRCF, 301 North Union St., Suite 203, or online at cattfoundation.org.

For 25 years, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation has been the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email foundation@cattfoundation.org, or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).

Southern Tier Health Care System is 501(C)(3) not-for-profit rural health care network serving Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. Founded in 1994, it was one of the first four rural health networks in New York State. Its mission is to improve the health and wellness of the rural communities it serves.

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