Survival kits aim to save lives

(WEAU) - Have you ever been in a situation where you needed an emergency survival kit? It turns out you're not the only one.

What started as an idea by Lt. John Bowe of the Chippewa Falls Fire Department, is finally making headway in Chippewa County. It's thanks to the Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership that county officers and deputies will carry their own survival kits in the field.

When the tones come in, officers and fire fighters never know what to expect.

"There have been situations where officers have been shot that one in bloomer where he was shot in the leg and bled to death,” said John Bowe Lt. with the Chippewa Falls Fire Department.

But having a survival kit can save lives of police officers and victims.

"I think this is a life saving measure that every officer has access to immediately before EMS and fire personnel arrive on scene,” said Chad Holum, Lt. Field Services.

Chad Holum with the police department says having it, especially for rural policing is important. But what does the kit include? First, there's the tourniquet.

"Very simple to install. You just put it on. Pull it tight and twist this until the bleeding stops. Once the bleeding stops you’re good to go,” explained Bowe.

Bowe says a tourniquet could have reduced the number of preventable deaths in the Vietnam War. Other items in the kit include a chest seal and an airway opener.

"The chest seal is for a gunshot wound or a stab wound to the chest. People die from simple airway blockages,” said Bowe.

So it's like having smal version of what an ambulance has right on your belt.

The Director of the Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP), through St. Joseph’s Hospital says the county has about 140 kits, costing about $6500.

"He brought it to my attention. We talked about it in our CHIP steering committee. Everybody of course was on board and we started to talk a few fundraisers and were able to pull together funds very quickly,” said Rhonda Brown, Director of CHIP.

It’s all thanks to the support of area businesses and several grants.

"Families can rest a little easier knowing that when their loved one goes out in response to calls."

"There are so many things that happen when you have severe hemorrhage. You lose focus. You don't really know your surroundings. You're unable to protect yourself, where are when you’re able to keep the blood in your body you'd able to think clearly and your able to protect yourself,” said Bowe.

"If it can save one live in 20 years, I think its well worth it,” said Holum.

The county is still waiting to train everyone. It plans to wait until the merger of the Chippewa Falls Police Department is completed.

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