Trending Topics

Dallas rolls out trauma kits to help civilians treat shooting victims

Officials performed an active-shooter drill using the new kits, which are intended to help civilians treat gunshot wounds until first responders arrive

By Robert Wilonsky
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS A sizable crowd gathered in the lobby of Dallas City Hall on Tuesday morning — a few cops, some firefighters, dozens of city employees and even a few random spectators who’d come to pay their water bills. Even more watched from the second- and third-floor balconies.

They’d been promised an active-shooter drill with a trauma-kit demonstration featuring “actors playing victims in injury makeup.” Plastic tarps had been hung on the large windows facing the parking lot behind City Hall.

“I don’t know what they’re expecting,” Dr. Alex Eastman, the Parkland trauma surgeon leading the demo, said before it began. “Spurting blood? It’s not going to be gory.”

In fact, it was anything but. Eastman, medical director and chief surgeon at Parkland’s Rees-Jones Trauma Center, was at City Hall to roll out a new trauma kit containing items — including gloves, gauze and tourniquets — intended to help civilians treat gunshot wounds and other serious injuries until the professionals arrive.

The police department was already using the kits.

Eastman, a longtime member of the Dallas Police Department’s SWAT response team who was downtown on July 7, said there was no doubt about it: Incidents involving active shooters are taking place at an “an alarmingly increased rate.” And in Dallas, he said, this has become “painfully obvious.”

But he also made it very clear: The trauma kits introduced Tuesday were not a response to the ambush that killed five officers and wounded nine others.

Rather, Eastman said, this was part of a citywide effort to make Dallas “the most safe municipality to live in.” The kits, he said, are being rolled out citywide as part of President Barack Obama’s policy directive concerning national preparedness, which tasks civilians with tending to the injured until rescue workers arrive.

“Hemorrhage control,” Eastman said, “is the CPR of the 21st century.”

He demo’d the kit on two actors depicting gunshot wound victims — a man with leg and arm injuries, and a woman with a gaping chest wound.

“If my mom can do it,” he said, after wrapping their wounds, “anybody can do it.”

Copyright 2016 The Dallas Morning News