Heroes Wanted

How one company’s innovative instructions, packaging and training videos are redefining “first responder” by enabling bystanders to help in emergencies and mass casualty situations.

[This story originally ran 1/25/2018.]

We often talk about the “last mile” in the planned distribution of life-saving drugs and devices, but there are occasions when the last mile is taking place in those first seconds and minutes after a tragedy strikes.

Unfortunately, the world we live in includes natural disasters and violence. It would be a dream scenario for trained EMTs to be around for every medical emergency, but that’s not always possible. The good news is that there are often members of the public, bystanders and concerned citizens, who could theoretically step in and provide the most basic aid to “extend people’s lives” until trained healthcare providers arrive.

That’s the mission of Griffin Logistics’ Tramedic line of trauma kits, developed to bring life-saving treatments to the lowest-level responder possible. The kits are intended for installation at campuses, sports venues, work sites and other public places where people gather.

Two trauma kits were installed in 2018 at the student center and library at the Clemson University campus. Capt. Bill Shivar of Fire and Emergency Medical Services at the University noted in a recent Clemson article, “One of the recognized causes of death is uncontrolled hemorrhaging or severe bleeding sustained from a shooting or active hostile event.” He added, “These kits are intended for building occupants to render themselves or others with hemorrhage control while waiting on first responders to provide treatment.”

Based in South Carolina, the Griffin team members have backgrounds ranging from pharmaceuticals to military medicine, which has equipped them to help with medical planning, custom kit development and training.

Tramedic kits, which come in different configurations for wall-mounting, cabinet storage and smaller on-the-go sizes, are outfitted with sub-kits for various medical issues including massive bleeding, eye trauma, wound care, casualty care and more.

Griffin sought to make the materials easy to navigate, with sub-kits identifiable by number, color code, text, or icons. The bilingual kits feature English text prominently with Spanish subtitles.The Tramedic systems also feature:

  • A removable decision tree, or flowchart, to help users prioritize treatments and select which kit to use in a given situation.

  • The back side of the chart printed with high visibility yellow and the word casualty, can be used as a signal or marker to guide rescue personnel to those in the greatest need of help.

  • Individual instructions on sub-kits for the included components both by text and graphics. The instructions also prioritize the component to be used first in the kit, and each component is marked to clearly link to the corresponding instruction.

By bringing the instructions down to the simplest level possible, the number of potential effective responders is greatly increased.

Training and tracking

The company offers various licenses for training videos through their portal. The videos are designed to be viewed by users of all ages, and facility training managers can assign videos and track staff progress.

Products of this nature can (and hopefully do) remain unused for long periods of time. Griffin tracks the Tramedic kits, monitoring for product expiration dates. The company explains that they maintain a log of the components used to pack a given kit, and they can track and notify customers of any product that is approaching expiration and needs to be replaced as long as the original seal is intact. Storage cabinets are alarmed for tamper-resistance.

Safety certification

Given the serious nature of the Tramedic Response System’s use, Griffin Logistics notes the system has attained lab-tested designation from The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi. (NCS4 works with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA, government agencies and more as a resource for venue safety.)

The designation means that the system has been evaluated by subject matter experts including law enforcement, public safety, and emergency medical service professionals in three segments: training, feasibility, and kit contents and instructions.

Hope for the best, but design your packaging for the worst.

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