South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

Block watch members learn techniques for treating life-threatening bleeding


Last updated 2/14/2019 at 7:44am

Zone 3 residents received training on the proper way to recognize and treat life-threatening bleeding at last Monday’s meeting of the Carrick / Overbrook Block Watch at 25 Carrick Avenue.

The “Stop the Bleed” program is an hour-long session that provides law enforcement, schools, and religious groups with training to care for bleeding victims until medical assistance arrives at the scene.

The program started in 2016 after the Department of Defense and Homeland Security discovered many mass shooting victims could have survived if bystanders had the necessary skills to slow life threatening bleeding.

Many national organizations hope to see the “Stop the Bleed” program become as widely adopted as CPR training.

The training session was facilitated at last Monday’s meeting by Sarah Zelazny, trauma prevention coordinator at Allegheny Health Network (AHN). Ms. Zelazny said during emergency situations such as mass shootings, bystanders should be the first point of the trauma control system.

“If you’re bleeding from an artery, you could bleed to death within three to five minutes.” Ms. Zelazny said “There have been cases where something happens, and there are a lot of bystanders, and no one knows what to do.”

According to the program, the first thing to do is call 9-1-1 and identify the source of the bleeding. Ms. Zelazny then demonstrated the proper ways to apply direct compression to a wound, pack a wound with gauze, and apply a tourniquet.

“We teach people that you’re probably not going to have all this fancy stuff,” Ms. Zelazny said. “Take off your shirt, take off your scarf, and don’t worry if something is clean.”

However, Ms. Zelazny said if possible, belts should not be used in place of a tourniquet, as they are ineffective at maintaining adequate pressure on a limb. She also encouraged residents not to purchase tourniquets on Amazon, due to quality concerns.

The “Stop the Bleed” program also offers free bleeding control kits to school districts and police officers upon completion of the hour-long training. The kits include tourniquets, pressure dressings, gauze, and gloves. Other groups and agencies who complete the training may be offered priority or discount pricing on the kits as well.

Certified kits can also be purchased on an individual basis at Costs range from $69 to $850.

“Stop the Bleed” training sessions can be scheduled for schools, religious groups, community groups, and private businesses in Western Pennsylvania. For more information or to schedule a training, residents can email

In addition to the “Stop the Bleed” training, Zone 3 officer Christine Luffey provided the monthly crime report which listed just under 50 reports of criminal activity in Carrick and 11 incidents in Overbrook.

Among the incidents reported were 16 thefts, four robberies, three burglaries, three overdoses and two aggravated assaults.

Officer Luffey reported four arrests were made on January 9 at 6:04 p.m. in the 2500 block of Brownsville Road following a tip from last month’s block watch meeting.

According to the report, plain clothes detectives were monitoring a residence after a tip related to suspected drug activity. The officers gained access to the building after they allegedly observed a male enter the building with the intent to purchase drugs.

Police removed a large quantity of crack-cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, digital scales, sandwich bags, and a cell phone. Three males and one female inside the home were arrested.

“This [block watch] really, really works, so don’t ever hesitate to pass along information,” Officer Luffey said.

Officer Luffey also discussed a public drunkenness and disorderly conduct arrest that occurred on January 25 at 6 p.m. in the 200 block of Sunnyland Avenue. Offers were dispatched after receiving a 911 report of a female who was having trouble breathing inside a residence.

When police arrived, they encountered an intoxicated male, who became agitated while police and paramedics were assisting the female. According to the report, the male appeared to have a 12-inch knife concealed in his waistband. The suspect also attempted to punch an officer.

Officer Luffey also confirmed the CoGo’s in the 2800 block of Brownsville Road was robbed on January 30 at 12:21 a.m. Three young African-American males entered the store and ordered the cashier and two shoppers to get down onto the ground. They quickly left the store with money from the register.

Police have obtained video footage from the store and are looking at traffic cams as part of the investigation.

At the end of the meeting, Sherry Brown of the Carrick Community Council (CCC) announced the next public CCC meeting with new board members will be Monday, Feb. 25 at 7:00 a.m. at 25 Carrick Avenue.

The next Carrick / Overbrook Block Watch meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on March 4 at 25 Carrick Avenue. Guest speakers will include members of the Zone 3 Safety Council.


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