Trauma Response Training: An Investment in Your Organization

March 14th, 2022 by Travis Rains

Glen and Drew Stilson of Arizona-based Independence Training told attendees at the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) Annual Conference, which was held the week of February 28, that proper trauma response training has numerous benefits. From saving lives and identifying leaders to preserving productivity, the more employees know, the better prepared they are to handle traumatic situations at the workplace and in their communities.

Benefits of Trauma Response Training

Glen said one of the most noticeable benefits of trauma response training is that it reduces job-related injuries. Along with safety and security for employees, that also serves to continue productivity.

Glen Stilson (right) is seen conducting a training.

“When people understand what can go wrong and how fast it can go wrong, they typically wear their personal protective equipment better, they typically follow safety guidelines better, they’re typically more excited about the safety meetings and safety briefings,” Glen said. “They have less accidents when people understand, and how long it might take emergency responders to get there.”

Glen said the majority of people have a “Hollywood, very unrealistic” idea of how emergency personnel respond to traumatic injuries. He said that idea leads people to believe that it’s no big deal if they are injured, as they think someone will be there shortly to save them.

“Most people have, again, a very unrealistic idea of what happens in a medical emergency,” Glen continued. “So the more we can prepare them through inoculation and stress of inoculation specifically, the better they’re going to handle not just these types of emergencies, but other emergencies as well.”

Glen also noted that on-the-job training translates to off-the-job situations as well. He said that while injuries at the workplace can often be addressed through safety protocols and resources, the same cannot be said for traumatic injuries that take place off the job. But those off-the-job uses also benefit productivity, as there are less off-the-job injuries with which to contend.

“So this is a massive benefit to your people, because now they have the opportunity to use these skills they learned on the job from your organizations on their friends, their families, their neighbors, their communities,” Glen said. “It benefits everybody they come in contact with.”

Such training can also identify leaders flying under the radar. Glen said some employees who “humdrum” through the day have in the past shown that they perform well in emergency situations.

M.A.R.C.H.

The acronym M.A.R.C.H. is a method of injury assessment and treatment, with the first consideration being massive hemorrhaging or bleeding, which results from arterial wounds.

“It generally only takes a few minutes,” Glen said. “Traumatic bleeding remains the leading cause of preventable traumatic death in America. A lot of that is training related. ‘M’ is always going to be our main priority. If we can keep the blood in the body and we can keep it circulating through the brain then we can keep somebody, including ourselves, alive.”

The next step is to manage the patient’s airway. External options include readjusting the airway to ensure it’s open and clear, while invasive or internal options require other special skills and tools.

Respiration is the third step when treating a patient with a traumatic injury. Glen said the aim is to make sure the patient is breathing evenly, or without distress or hard effort.

“And if they’re not breathing evenly, then we need to fix that,” he said. “And that’s either from repositioning the patient or potentially sealing up any penetrating traumas, or again potentially doing some invasive concepts to release some of the pressure that may have built up in a chest cavity from a number of different wounds.”

Up next is circulation, which is when CPR comes into play with the goal of making sure the circulatory system is up and running. However, if “C” is addressed prior to “M, A and R,” the patient could be in trouble.

“If we start just doing CPR before M, A and R are secured, we’re going to pump the blood out of their body faster and we’re going to over-pressurize their chest faster,” Glen said. “If M, A and R are not handled and we jump into C, things are not going to go well for our patient.”

The last step in M.A.R.C.H. is checking for hypothermia, or shock. Glen said hypothermia is the number one issue resulting in the loss of a patient. With the body’s core temperature needing to be 98.6 degrees, even slight variations to that figure can spell trouble.

“You only get two degrees of variation before your body starts to go hypothermic, and that’s not a lot,” Glen said. “That means by the time your body hits 96 degrees, you’re starting to lose function. By the time it hits 94 your body is really starting to lose function; by the time you hit 92 your body is shutting down; and by the time you hit between 90 and 88, you’re dead. One of the things we’ve learned in the field over the last 10 to 15 years is how important it is to treat people for hypothermia.”

Glen said he has seen patients go hypothermic in outside temperatures in excess of 100 degrees. Outside and inside temperatures are two different things, Glen noted, adding that many industrial and manufacturing facilities have cold, concrete floors.

Drew also reminded attendees that field medicine is a perishable skill. For example, the way tourniquets are applied and CPR administered are forever evolving.

“You want to make sure that you’re repeating these skills every six months, or as much as you possibly can,” she said.

Glen urged proactivity when it comes to training, also cautioning against “check-the-box training.”

“This is about investing in your people,” Glen said. “It’s about investing in their success and it’s about investing ultimately in your organization.”

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