BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A tool used to help save lives in Las Vegas has been standard issue for Baton Rouge Police officers for more than two years.
Often times, police are the first to arrive on the scene in emergency scenarios, allowing them to eliminate any threat before medical personnel are brought in. However, if someone is bleeding profusely, mere seconds can be the difference between life and death. Applying a tourniquet to prevent blood loss can make all the difference.
"It's essential that we take care of the basics, make sure that person is stable and stays alive until we get them to services," said Sgt. Robert Knight, the range mater for the firearms training unit of BRPD.
This week, BRPD officers are going through their annual training. About three dozen officers acted out different scenarios Wednesday, from an officer down to an active crime scene with people shot. Part of that training including how to apply a tourniquet, especially in intense environments.
The emergency kits have been part of each officer's toolkit for just about two years. Before the Lafayette theater shooting in July of 2015, officers started carrying them. By the fall of 2015, the East Baton Rouge metro council approved the funds to help purchase them for every officer.
"A carpenter without a hammer isn't really a carpenter, so if you're here to save and protect, then you need all the tools necessary to do that type of job," said Sgt. Leonard Harry, a trainer for BRPD.
Officer Todd Thomas was among those at training. So far, he has used tourniquets ten times in the field, including once to help a man on Winbourne Avenue. "Me and another officer applied a tourniquet to both of his thighs, then we began packing the wounds, treating him," said Thomas.
So far this year, Knight says tourniquets have been used at least 30 times. "We have people walking around alive today because of this training," said Knight.