EMA hosts three 'Until Help Arrives' classes

Johnson County Emergency Managemement Director Troy Armstrong leads the first of three “Help Until Help Arrives” course Tuesday, June 11, at the EMA office, 122 Hout St.

WARRENSBURG — The Johnson County Emergency Management hosted three sessions of its “Help Until Help Arrives” course Tuesday, June 11, at its office, 122 Hout St.

About a half dozen people attended the first session Tuesday morning.

The class is part of the agency’s #TeachTuesdays Campaign.

Each class ran about an hour and a half.

The three sessions on June 11 focused on the first five steps those on the scene of a life-threatening incident should take before first responders arrive.

The five steps include calling 9-1-1, staying safe/create a safe environment for all involved, stopping the bleed, positioning the injured and providing comfort.

“A lot of times, life-threatening situations can be addressed by the people who are first on scene,” Director Troy Armstrong said. “So, when we say first responders, we typically think about medical personnel, law enforcement and fire fighters on the scene, but really the first responders are us. If you are going along and come across a car accident or get in a serious incident that involves injuries, you need to know how to address that and respond.”

Armstrong led the course.

Erin Matheny, Johnson County EMA intern, helped create the presentation given Tuesday.

The course is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Armstrong led those in attendance through discussions of situations where those on the scene of a life-threatening incident might help save a life.

“Just because that bothers you does not mean you cannot help,” Armstrong said of not directly work with an injured person on the scene of the incident. “Just because you are not able to handle the blood and guts of first aid does not mean you do not have a place to help someone.”

He said all people on the scene of the incident play a crucial role.

“The statement, ‘You are the help until help arrives,’ and ‘Doing something is better than doing nothing,’ really is what this class is about,” Amstrong said.

Armstrong also went though specific practice scenarios of how those on the scene can help with the situation such as a roll-over crash with entrapment, a mass shooting and a bombing.

“Getting help in a mass-casualty situation is going to be limited, if not impossible, so you responding to these situations are going to be helping,” he said.

Despite chaotic situations, Armstrong stressed the importance for safety of all involved.

“Your safety is always number one,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong discussed the different levels of incidents that people might incur.

The three levels are common incidents, such as a vehicle wreck; rare incidents, such as a tornado or mass shooter; and very rare situations, such as terrorism, bombings and large-scale disasters.

“You can make a difference, that is the biggest thing to take away from this,” Armstrong said. “Doing something is better than doing nothing.”

He told attendees the first thing that should happen on the scene of an incident is for someone to take charge.

He said this ensures everyone will have a specific task and not all people are doing the same thing.

As he went through the five steps of responding to the situation, he spent time discussing the importance of providing comfort.

Armstrong said sometimes just being there is the most important thing is just being there for someone involved in the incident.

“The only thing I stress when we provide comfort is to never lie to a patient,” he said. “Never tell them something that you do not know is true.”

Armstrong said the national average EMS response time is six to nine minutes, but that can vary depending where you live.

He said the chain of survival for traumatic incidents includes those already on scene, non-medical responders, per-hospital personnel, emergency rooms and surgeons.

While talking about those who do help, Armstrong also noted reason why people might not help on scene.

Reasons why people do not help include thinking responders will be there right away, don’t know what to do and are afraid.

“Someone has to be the first to act,” Armstrong said. “It is a good thing to train your brain.”

He reminded attendees they are the first responder, the stress could be high in the situation and practice is good.

Armstrong suggested people have a plan, have supplies ready, get emergency alerts and practice their plan.

Armstrong said the next session of the class will be held on a Tuesday in July.

Managing Editor of Digital Publishing Derek Brizendine can be reached by emailing derek.brizendine@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @DerekBrizendine.

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