A section chief with Longview Fire Department’s EMS division wasn’t mincing words Saturday, speaking to local teens who might one day serve in her shoes.
“A tourniquet hurts, OK?” Amy Dodgen told the 11 high school students enrolled in the annual how-to class. “If someone’s talking to you and they’re saying, ‘Man, that hurts.’ That’s good.”
Dodgen and fire Capt. Cory Clanton were among instructors leading the free Heroes Of Tomorrow course held each year at Teague Park. Earlier in the day, the young men and women watched — and participated in — demonstrations of a ladder truck and water rescue in the little lake at the park as well as other skills used daily by emergency responders.
Seventh- and eighth-graders had their own HOT camp in June, Fire Marshal Kevin May said.
“This is probably the fifth or sixth year. We teach them how to use a fire extinguisher, how to stop the bleeding,” he said.
That last skill was the final subject Saturday, as the class moved inside the fire training building at the park.
Clanton held a Combat Application Tourniquet aloft for the class to see from its red tip to the buckle .
“Your hands are going to be slick,” Clanton told the class, describing the significant flow of blood from a ruptured femoral artery, the main line in each leg. “So getting this on is truly a matter of life and death.”
With the tourniquet around his upper arm, Clanton pointed out he’d wound it in a direction to allow him to tighten it with a pull across his chest as opposed to skyward behind his back.
“So, where does the red (tip) go?” he asked, then hearing much of the class give the correct answer: “To the center.”
Dodgen said the Combat Application Tourniquet is good for use on most ages.
“You can do all these things on a child if you need to,” she said. “But, what should you do with an infant? You can do it with your hand.”
Clanton also told the students what not to use to stop someone’s bleeding.
“Belts do not work,” he said. “Don’t use twist-ties.”
Practicing putting tourniquets on each other, Zoe Quinalty and Kaylee Brown said Saturday’s course held practical lessons, including insight on a potential career in firefighting, emergency medical service or law enforcement.
“(I learned) a lot of skills that I can use when I go home to Kilgore,” said Zoe, who is homeschooled.
“Yeah, I want to be a police officer,” Kaylee added. “I think this helps me, and I get to help people.”
A Longview High School sophomore, Kaylee said her favorite lesson had been atop the ladder truck.
“I didn’t know it was 104 feet,” she said.
Zoe, 17, said the ladder truck demo had been scary fun, but she also indicated the day’s lessons went deeper than a good time.
“I learned how to save your life if there’s ever an accident,” she said.
That’s feedback Clanton had picked up before the class ended.
“It’s a lot of fun to teach these kids,” he said. “They soak it up.”