Clark County deputies using new life-saving tool

Deputies are equipped with and trained to use tourniquets before medics arrive.

Sheriff’s deputies across Clark County are now carrying a tool many people are used to seeing in an ambulance.

More than 50 road deputies and deputies in the jail are trained to use tourniquets, a band designed to stop blood flow to extremities on victims suffering from major wounds, said Lt. Brad Barnhart with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

“With serious arterial bleeding you have only a couple minutes and you’re going to bleed to death,” Barnhart said.

Bethel Township Fire Department donated about $3,000 to purchase more than 20 tourniquets for the sheriff’s office over a year ago. Since then the sheriff’s office ordered about 30 more of the devices and started training deputies to use them within the past few weeks.

Now all road deputies either wear them on their belt or keep them close in their cars, he said.

“They’re on the officer’s belts for active shooters or any type of significant incident,” Barnhart said.

That includes serious car or motorcycle crashes, said Chris Ludwick, assistant chief of the Bethel Township Fire Department.

If appropriate tourniquets can be put on patients who have heavy bleeding before medics arrive on scene, it gives emergency responders a chance to better assess the situation once they get there, Ludwick said.

If it’s an injury where direct pressure either can’t be done or won’t be enough to stop heavy bleeding, the next step is to apply a tourniquet, he said.

Bleeding from major arteries can cause death but also loss of consciousness quickly, Barnhart said.

The tourniquets are not only for use on patients, he said, but also deputies learned how to use the tools on themselves, in case they are ever injured by someone on the job.

“Applying this to yourself quickly can save your life,” Barnhart said.

The two most-important life-saving tools law enforcement can carry in their squad cars are AEDs — devices used to shock the heart back into sync during a cardiac arrest — and tourniquets, Ludwick said.

“Those minutes could be really crucial,” Ludwick said.

Three tourniquets are also stationed with nurses and deputies in the Clark County Jail, 120 N. Fountain Ave., in cases of emergencies involving inmates, Barnhart said.

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