Danielle Gaeta packed gauze into an orange foam swimming pool noodle wrapped in duct tape Saturday morning.
The 19-year-old UF biomedical engineering sophomore was one of about 30 students who pretended the pool noodles were wounded limbs and learned how to tie tourniquets during a Stop the Bleed course at the Communicore Building.
The national campaign, created after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, aims to teach people how to control bleeding in emergency situations, said Brett Weiss, a UF finance senior.
The 22-year-old shadowed emergency doctors at the Jackson Health System’s Ryder Trauma Center in Miami and reached out to the Stop the Bleed campaign to bring the course to Gainesville.
Students received a certification signed off by UF Health at the end of the two-hour lecture and training course. The process is similar to getting a CPR certification, Weiss said.
“It’s normally taught to teachers. It’s taught to police officers,” Weiss said. “But we’re now just seeing that introduction of this being taught to students, and that’s really what’s important.”
UF Health Shands Hospital surgeons, nurses, trauma coordinators and U.S. Army recruiters instructed students at the event. Attendees learned how to stop blood from the arm, leg, neck, torso and abdomen during emergencies like home injuries, mass shootings, bombings or car accidents.
Donna York, a registered nurse and trauma program manager, lectured the group on the “ABCs of Bleeding,” which stands for alert, bleeding and compress.
First, be alert and call 911, York said. Then, remove clothing to find the source of the bleeding. Compress the wound with a cloth or a tourniquet to stop the bleeding until help arrives.
York told students about how to make a homemade tourniquet out of clothing and to use to lipstick to write the time the tourniquet was tied onto the limb.
“If there’s been an active shooter, the police will not let people in until they have secured the scene,” she said. “And in the meantime, if you’ve been shot, you’re lying there bleeding. Drip, drip, drip.”
Gaeta remembers being 10 years old when her great-grandmother fell out of bed and hit her head on the ground. Blood started to pool around her, and she didn’t know how what to do.
Her cousin was able to stop the bleeding, she said.
Gaeta said she feels more confident about being able to respond in an emergency after leaving the course with a certification.
“To me, it’s a civic duty that we should all know how to take care of each other just in case anything happens,” she said.