GREENFIELD — Every patrol car in Hancock County soon will be outfitted with a trauma kit, giving all local law enforcement the materials they need to administer first aid in an emergency.
The Hancock County Fraternal Order of Police soon will hand out more than 100 trauma kits containing common medical items that military combat medics use to treat life-threatening wounds, officials said.
Every police officer in Hancock County will receive a kit to keep in their squad car and will complete training on how to stabilize an injured person, particularly a fellow officer with a gunshot wound.
Experts say a person who has suffered a severe injury can die from blood loss within five minutes. Because police are typically the first ones to arrive at the scene, local law enforcement leaders say need every tool necessary to help save lives.
The bags contain items typically found in first-aid kits, including bandages, gauze and tourniquets, gear that has not previously been among the equipment every county agency is instructed to carry, officials said.
Gifts from NineStar Connect and Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, totaling about $15,000, allowed the local fraternal order of police to purchase the kits after nearly a year of fundraising efforts that hadn’t gone as well as organizers had hoped, said Greenfield Police Sgt. Nichole Gilbert, the president of the local FOP.
Organizers announced in the fall of 2015 they wanted to purchase trauma kits to enable all officers to aid one other in the event of a mass shooting or other incident, officials said.
Dr. Jamie Coleman, a trauma surgeon at Methodist Hospital, said too often, those killed in a mass shooting have non-life-threatening injuries but die because they lose too much blood before help arrives.
With the right knowledge and equipment, first-responders or even bystanders can prevent these deaths, Coleman said.
“When you think of first response, a lot of people think of an ambulance; they think of a paramedic, they think of EMTs,” Coleman said. “But in reality, it’s really our law enforcement who are first on the scene. Whether it’s for themselves or for a civilian, they need to be able to stop the bleed.”
Mike Cushing, a reserve deputy for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department who led the fundraising push for the trauma kits, said he was grateful for the generosity Methodist and Ninestar showed to bring the FOP’s plan to reality.
Each officer is required to complete a three-hour first-aid training, taught by Cushing, who also works as an EMT in Indianapolis, before they receive their trauma kit.
Gilbert said she’s particularly eager to have the smaller, more rural police departments in the county, like Shirley and Wilkinson, pass through the training and carry the trauma kits. Those areas on the outskirts of the county take the most time for emergency medics to arrive, she said.
Andrea Grogg, a spokeswoman for Methodist Hospital, visited Greenfield this week with a team of doctors and hospital representatives to deliver the trauma kits. She said the hospital’s foundation was honored to have helped local police be prepared for an emergency, though she hopes one never arises.
“We hope you never need these,” Grogg said to the officers gathered. “We hope they sit in your cars and get really dusty.”