Plug a Pipe, Save a Life

Hello folks! The reference here to plumbing doesn’t mean the leak under the kitchen sink, but rather the plumbing of our own bodies.

The veins and arteries within us carry that very limited and precious supply of blood that keeps us alive and kickin’. Ever have a cut? Ever had a serious cut? While most of us have applied the occasional band-aid, few of us think about what to do if the occasion is much more serious.

An interesting note, the average adult has about 12 pints of blood circulating throughout the body and we all know we can’t survive without it. Oh sure, we can do fine with smaller cuts and bleeding, we are designed to withstand a certain amount of loss with no problems. However when something occurs such as a major wound or laceration we can start to display serious effects with as little as 2 pints of blood loss. (That’s a couple of beers for my friends that need a quantity comparison).

If this bleeding isn’t ceased by some method quickly, a life can be lost in a relatively short period of time. With severe blood loss, the time we’re talking about is minutes, not hours.

When you consider the time it takes EMS crews to arrive after they have been called, and the time it takes to get to the nearest hospital, someone has to do something in the meantime. That’s where you and a new nation-wide effort comes in to play. Medical authorities have determined that many more people would survive their injuries if only someone, or the victim themselves, knew some techniques to plug the leaks and stop the bleeding.

So they have embarked on a campaign across the country to educate numerous groups and the public at large on some simple methods anyone can do. They call it B-Con, short for bleeding control, and it utilizes a pre-packaged kit that contains medical materials to help. One of the goals is to have these kits placed throughout communities in convenient locations, much like the AED’s you see in many public places.

One of the great advantages of this campaign is that through some quick training, anyone can do it, and you’ll also be taught methods that you can use even if one of the B-Con kits is not available. Spearheading this effort in our area through Munson Grayling Hospital is Heidi O’Malley, RN and Michigan North Central Medical Control Coordinator. Through her efforts and this program, many of us emergency personnel are already better trained for the future.

Ultimately we would love to see everyone capable to help their friends, families and neighbors should the need arise. When you think of the many potentials dangers out there; chainsaws, RV accidents, gunshots, workshop mishaps, etc., with just a little training and a few everyday items, you can be a real help. Adding to that, the notion that many of these situations are out and away from the home with precious time ticking away, it becomes clear that you could be a real lifesaver. So with many of us firefighters and EMS personnel already trained, we hope to see you on board with us to help make everyone a little safer.

So for plumbing leaks in us, let’s keep the precious stuff inside where it belongs. As for the leaky sink, well, maybe I’ll fix it tomorrow.

Ken Elmore

Markey Township Firefighter

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