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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – In the year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High that killed 17 people and injured another 17, interest in a course called “Stop the Bleed” has risen.

According to GunViolenceArchive.org, a month and a half into this new year 5,400 people in the United States have been shot, killing 1,457 of them and injuring nearly 2,600. Just seven weeks into 2019 there have already been 35 mass shootings nationwide.

So with just minutes, sometimes just seconds, making the difference between life and death, Dr. Peter Antevy is pushing to get the life-saving tools used in the “Stop The Bleed” courses placed everywhere in South Florida and beyond.

Students at Western Senior High in Davie are taking the course.

“You gotta stop the arterial bleed because if they don’t, they lose so much blood, I can’t do anything,” Davie Fire Chief Heath Meyer said while demonstrating at the front of the class. “I can’t give them blood until we get to the hospital.”

Also in the front of the class were about a dozen new Stop the Bleed kits. Each kit has tourniquets, gauze, and other items to immediately help someone with a gaping wound before first responders even arrive.

“The first people on the scene are the people at the scene,” says Dr. Antevy. “You have a certain amount of blood in your body. If you have a significant bleed, which means it’s coming up quickly, then you have minutes sometimes where you can bleed to death. So waiting for police and waiting for fire rescue to come in, often times that can take eight, 10, 15 minutes. And, by that time it’s too late.”

A pediatric emergency physician, Dr. Antevy is also the EMS medical director for the Davie and Coral Springs fire departments. He’s helped lead the push for Stop the Bleed courses and kits.

“After Sandy Hook, when we knew there were kids in the building who weren’t getting help and the help they needed was hemorrhage and bleeding control, we went and said, ‘hey, let’s go and get those and put them in an area that’s inside the building,’ says Antevy.

The kits are mandatory in several Broward cities. They’re placed right alongside AED’s, also known as external defibrillators for sudden cardiac arrest.

“So the next best thing was, ‘alright, well, we’ll make it part of the ordinance,” explained Davie Fire Chief Jorge Gonzalez. “And what better ordinance, since they were already going in the AEDs to apply that to the AED ordinance.”

State grants have helped get hundreds of kits distributed in businesses and schools.

“When the inspectors go out and their checking for fire safety, one of the checkboxes and one of the things they have to check is the AED is there if it’s required to be present,” says Chief Gonzalez. “And that the Stop the Bleed kit is also present.”

Western senior Michaela Traitz took the class last year and now carries a kit in her car.

“I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. And when I saw what was supposed to be doing I was completely surprised,” she said. “I think the course really did help me because I had a bunch of misconceptions that were cleared up.”

Dr. Antevy points out Stop the Bleed courses and kit are useful for more than just shootings.

“Let’s say you’re in a car accident, or you punch your hand through a window and you have bleeding coming through the artery in your hand, you can die right there without just simple bleeding control,” he said.

Meyer coincidentally started teaching the courses just months before the massacre in Parkland last February 14. Since then he’s noticed quite a difference in people’s interest.

“Before people were like, ‘oh that’s nice’ and they needed to understand it but they didn’t really grasp it,” says Meyer. “And then it hits that close to home and you could see the attention span get a lot more focused.”

It’s a real mission for Dr. Antevy and Chiefs Meyer and Gonzalez. And, it’s picking up momentum with each passing tragedy.

“It’s just the new way of life,” says Gonzalez.

“I think this is very important for people to know,” adds Meyer. “You could be saving people’s life. You’re looking at buying them that little bit of time.”

So far in South Florida, Davie, Coral Springs, Pembroke Pines, and Hallandale Beach have passed ordinances requiring Stop the Bleed kits everywhere.

For more information on the initiative, kits and courses click here.

Frances Wang

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