Group buys medical kits for officers

Published 8:13 am Monday, December 17, 2018

To help during shooting or accidents

On Friday morning, the law enforcement officers of Lawrence County got a gift — a tourniquet belt, blood clotting powder and latex gloves, all in a pouch that goes on their utility belt.

There were 55 pouches in all, nearly enough for all the police officers and deputies.
Dr. Colton Copley and Dr. Dominique Wong, of Cabell-Huntington Hospital’s Emergency Services, made the presentation at the Ironton City Center.

Copley explained that officers are often the first ones on the scenes of accidents or shootings and they might have to wait for EMTs to show up to begin medical assistance. Or an officer might be injured and will have to use the kit on themselves.

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With the kits, the officer can put a tourniquet and the quick clot solution on a victim to stop the wound from bleeding out and the victim from dying.

“We always hope they never have to be in that scenario,” he said. “But if they are, we want them to be prepared.”

Copley and Wong will be training all officers to use the kits over the next two months as the officers’ schedules allow, as will local EMS who have already been trained in their use.

For the past five years, Wong has been helping to train officers and others like school employees in Stop The Bleed techniques to know what to do in an emergency situation like a stabbing, shooting or accident.

“There are some injuries, some traumas you can have that you can die from in three to five minutes and EMS often can’t get into that situation rapidly,” she said. “So these kits will bridge that gap until professional medical care can arrive.”

She said her big interest is in law enforcement medicine to support officers and she hopes that these kits can help them.

“They have an inherently risky job and this kit, I’m hoping, will allow someone who might not otherwise get home to their families,” Wong said.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said that he met Dr. Wong a year ago after she offered  to train officers and Copley volunteered too.

“It’s been a tremendous benefit to us,” he said, adding that one of the things they discussed is the benefit to officers and citizens if they had tourniquet kits. “When we were talking about tourniquets and blood clotting agents, Dr. Wong and Dr. Copley went to work and came up with some funding for these kits. And we couldn’t be more grateful. I think it is great and is going to be a huge benefit.”

The pouches were purchased by donations from concerned donors, including Common Please Judge-Elect Christen Finley, Bullseye Total Media owner Amy Frasure, Ironton-Lawrence County CAO Executive Director D.R. Gossett and Fayette Township Trustees Mike Finley and Mike Jones.

“These kits aren’t cheap, but they are the right thing to have on the streets to not only help the officers but make the community safer,” Copley said.

Ironton Police Chief Pam Wagner said the department loves their community partners and that these were needed for the safety of the community and officers.

“That is our number one concern,” she said, adding that most departments have limited funding that “donations like this are an excellent source for us and it is just amazing to help out with those kind of resources we actually, genuinely need.”

She did add they hope to never have to use the kits.

“This is a piece of equipment like your firearm, your TASER or your handcuffs,” she said. “You hope to never have to use them and we sure don’t want to use these tourniquets.”