Farmington man creates grassroots Stop the Bleed nonprofit

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published July 16, 2019

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Prompted by the increased number of Americans dying from substantial blood loss, one Farmington resident and the Chairman of the Greater Farmington Area Emergency Preparedness Commission, Douglas Reynolds, 60, decided to create a grassroots effort to educate people on how they can help right here at home.

Reynolds is currently retired and previously worked as a residence facilities manager at the University of Toronto.

What started as a simple gesture of donating tourniquets to the Farmington Police Department led Reynolds to the national Stop the Bleed program and a desire to do more to help.

After learning more about the program, Reynolds felt the national initiative wasn’t getting enough attention locally, so he created Bystander Response, a local nonprofit that helps educate local people on the dangers of blood loss and how they can help save someone’s life in an emergency.

“There’s a lot of people dying from bleeding to death, and the situation seems to be occurring more and more,” said Reynolds. “Hopefully, this program will give people maybe a slight sense of comfort, knowing perhaps they have the ability and the empowerment to help in a situation like that if it occurs.”

The national Stop the Bleed program was launched in October 2015 by the White House in an attempt to encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help during a bleeding emergency before professional medical services arrive. Four years later, the program stands as one of the largest current national public health campaigns.

Studies indicate that approximately 16% of deaths in America, and 40% worldwide — approximately 24,000 Americans in 2018 — are from a trauma one situation that could have been prevented if people were informed on how to stop bleeding and produce effective hemorrhage control.

Barbara Smith, the trauma program manager at Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills, said people can die from severe blood loss in five to 10 minutes, and oftentimes in active shooter or mass casualty situations, there are too many victims and not enough time for medical professionals to help everyone. The average first responder time is sevent to 10 minutes.

That’s why bystanders need to be able to step in.

“It’s vital we all have these skills, because we possibly couldn’t get EMS to them quick enough,” Smith said.

Reynolds, along with colleagues who have a diversity of experience in the medical profession — including Smith, EMS personnel, police officers and firefighters — is offering public classes to community members and private, large-group classes for anyone interested in learning Stop the Bleed techniques. To date, Reynolds and his colleagues have taught approximately 5,000 people.

Reynolds said learning the techniques isn’t “rocket science,” and he hopes to not only be able to train people in these techniques, but to go beyond and train people to become fellow trainers themselves.

“We’ve trained probably at least 5,000 people, but we certainly want to do much larger numbers,” Reynolds said. “What we want to do is train people to train others. … A few trainers can only train so many people, but lots of trainers can train lots of people.”

Reynolds said class sizes generally are about 18 people, though he and his colleagues will train as many or as few people who show up — the overall intention is to spread the message and information as far as possible.

Beyond offering training classes, Reynolds’ Bystander Response website includes a variety of videos and infographics for people to continually refresh their memory and educate themselves further.

“If you teach somebody something for an hour at a class, a week later, most people don’t remember. So there has to be a certain amount of personal responsibility for a person that takes the class to make sure they refresh themselves about what was said and how to do things,” Reynolds said. “When things happen, there’s a physiological response that essentially shuts your brain down for a while, and you have to know what to do. You can’t be thinking about it. You only have five minutes.”

Smith shared the same sentiment.

“Truly having people prepared is key here,” she said. “It is the average person who can truly make the most difference.”

Bystander Response classes cost $10 per person and are held upon request or as Reynolds receives enough demand and participation to host them.

For more information on Bystander Response, visit bystanderresponse.com. To learn more about the national Stop the Bleed program, visit nationalstopthebleedday.org.

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