HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Hospital officials announced Wednesday morning they were using a $46,500 grant from the Madison County Legislative Delegation to buy tactical first-aid kits for Huntsville, Madison and Madison County law enforcement officers. The two police departments and sheriff’s department have a combined total of approximately 600 patrol cars. Each car will get one kit.
The kits go far beyond basic first-aid supplies. The supplies include a combat application tourniquet, a special gauze that promotes rapid clotting to stop arterial bleeding, an emergency bandage that covers large chest wounds, a nasal hose to keep airways open and rescue knife to break open car windows and slash seat belts.
Dr. Eric Greenfield is the director of Huntsville Hospital’s Emergency Department. During the presentation of the kits Thursday, he reflected on the death of a friend in 1996 – a state trooper who died of a femoral artery laceration following a car wreck. Dr. Greenfield says he has no doubt his friend would be alive today if such supplies were available back then.
In making the gift, hospital officials recognized law enforcement personnel are often the first responders. In the few minutes it can take for an ambulance to arrive, a person with a traumatic injury can quickly bleed out. Officers and deputies can use the kits to administer life-saving first aid to victims. They can also use the supplies to treat themselves or a fellow officer. That’s especially important in active shooting situations, since paramedics will not respond until it is safe for them to do so.