A bill that requires high school students go through bleeding control training as a part of their mandated health class curriculum, has passed a house committee.
Schools would work with the “Stop the Bleed” program, which trains individuals how to use a tourniquet to stop an individual from bleeding. The program is already an existing class and is used in some schools, but the expansion would require the program to go statewide.
Rep. Julie Mayberry, R-Hensley, the bill’s sponsor, spoke on the similarities between the bleeding control training and the already mandated CPR training students must go through to graduate. She says the program, which can be taught in two hours, was also mentioned by Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s school safety commission.
“Stop the Bleed" is intended to cultivate grassroot efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency, before professional help arrives,” Mayberry said.
Clayton Goddard with Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services spoke on the importance of the program. According to Goddard, the efforts to include “Stop the Bleed” training in school began in 2017.
“In this plan, volunteers would go throughout the state and teach every school nurse in the state of Arkansas how to become instructors in this program,” Goddard said. “Right now, more than 73 percent of the state is participating in that program.”
According to Goddard, the program has found funding through FEMA, Homeland Security, the Arkansas Department of Health and other organizations to give schools that participate in the program a wall-mounted bleeding control kit, similar to the automated external defibrillators already found in schools. Goddard says trauma is the number one cause of death for people ages one through 45. However, he also said the class is not an active shooter program and that bleeding emergencies can come from other situations.
“As a paramedic for 25-years, you see it every day. We’ve had the car wrecks today. We’ve had the falls today. We’ve had the playground incidents and there are several sightings where this program has already been used in schools,” Goddard said.
When asked for a scenario where students would be in an environment where they would have to give bleeding control and there would not be a nurse around, Dr. Marlon Doucet, a supporter of the bill, said this is a skill a student can use well after they graduate.
“They may not necessarily need that training while they’re in a school environment. But suppose, just suppose there’s a larger event occurring and now you’ve got multiple casualties. You need to multiply the number of people with the training to provide the care necessary,” Doucet said.
The committee also had questions on how this would affect the curriculum for health classes in schools. Stacy Smith with the Arkansas Department of Education said the course has already been written into the health standards.
Rep. Jana Della Rosa, R-Rogers, asked for clarification on the matter.
“So would this mean that regardless of whether we pass this today or not, this is still going to have to be taught in health class if it’s part of the standards?” Della Rosa asked. Smith answered in the affirmative.
“It has been written into health standards that bleeding control is taught in all health courses throughout the state. That’ll go to the state board for adoption in the next few months to be implemented in a year from now,” Smith said.
Smith called the bill an “exclamation point” on getting the program statewide.
The bill passed the committee by a voice vote, with no member audibly voting no.