Santa Maria - North County

Police turn to a tourniquet to help save gunshot victim's life

LOMPOC, Calif. - Lompoc Police officers are crediting a life-saving tool for helping to keep a person alive. One of the victims of the Fourth of July shooting was bleeding out from a gunshot wound to their arm.

Police say an officer used a tourniquet to help stop the bleeding. 

"You unwind it, then you go over the ligament, and you want to go over the wound,” said Sgt. Vincent Magallon, with the Lompoc Police Department. 

He demonstrated how the tourniquet is used on a person when they have been hurt. For some, it’s a matter of life or death. 

Lompoc police officers said tourniquets can help save a person’s life.

"You want to strap it down as far as you can and simply secure it and at that point you begin winding the tourniquet,” said Sgt. Magallon.  

Officer David Kulp saved a person’s life that was shot at in the arm on the Fourth of July. 

The shooting happened along F Street in Lompoc. Three people were shot at, two in the face and one in the arm. 

"There are times when paramedics can’t get to injured victims,” said Sgt. Magallon. 

It's in those cases when it's up to an officer to help keep a person alive. The police chief said each officer is equipped with a tourniquet.

That's thanks to funding from the non-profit organization the Lompoc Police Foundation. 

"This is an example of a single item that showed up at the right place at the right time,” said Frank Young, the foundation's president. 

The foundation helps to fund training and equipment. They raise money through various events like their car show coming up on August 19. The police chief said it's money that doesn’t come from their general budget. 

"We had out first save since we got them,” says Chief Pat Walsh.  

Officers said when someone gets hurt it’s only a matter of minutes before they start bleeding out. They said the average person carries about five to six liters of blood. 

Once you lose half of that a person can lose consciousness and eventually could die. 

"If you have a tourniquet you are going to save somebody,” said Chief Walsh. 

Officers can use the tool on themselves, a fellow officer or on a person who is hurt. Some of them carry the tool right on their belts. 

"The types of injuries we deal with are major bleeds and trauma to the chest are the major causes of death,” says Sgt. Magallon.  

For more information about the Lompoc Police Foundation visit: http://www.lompocpolicefoundation.org.


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