BILLINGS — Classes at Billings Skyview High School looked a little different Thursday as groups of students got a firsthand crash course on how to possibly save a life.
Bleeding from unintentional trauma is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. It’s why the Stop the Bleed Campaign was born.
"The consensus came out about creating a program like 'Stop the Bleed' to teach the public about simple hemorrhage control techniques to help out. The benefits of tourniquets kind of came out in the world from Iraq and Afghanistan and showed that they were safe to use and really beneficial. That was then tied in with the tragedy in Sandy Hook in Connecticut and it really came together to say, what can we do for simple hemorrhage control training that we can provide to the public? Just like CPR," said Dr. Barry McKenzie, trauma medical director for St. Vincent's Healthcare, on Thursday.
Skyview freshmen spent Thursday learning how to make a lifesaving difference by applying tourniquets, packing wounds and identifying wound areas that are most crucial.
"I do pole vault and I feel like that’s a dangerous sport. The other day a kid got hit in the elbow, and it was swollen and bleeding and it could’ve been worse," said Skyview freshman Brylee Bushman on Thursday.
"We talk to our students about the importance of understanding first aid because who are you most likely to do first aid on? Someone you know or care about," said Skyview Athletics Director Troy Trollope on Thursday.
Getting hands-on experience made this an event the kids won’t soon forget.
2023 marks the fifth anniversary of National Stop the Bleed month, a grassroots campaign with more than two million people involved.
And it’s teaching more than just medical skills.
"They’re much more confident after going through skills like this and they like to show off a little bit like, 'hey, see what I did here, I did a tourniquet, coach.' And they get a sense of achievement, empowerment," added Trollope.
An invaluable lesson that they’re happy to have if they ever need it.
"It's good because if you want to become a professional when you get older, it helps you get into that. And then also if you do come across something random where you don’t know the person, or you do know the person and you just feel like you know the stuff and you need to help, then it's good to come across that and actually know what you’re doing," said Skyview freshman Grace Scott on Thursday.