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Ind. State Police now equipped with tourniquets

Posted at 8:04 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 20:48:00-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tourniquets are now on the belt of every state trooper in Indiana – and that can mean the difference between life and death for someone in need.

The concept of a tourniquet dates back to 400 B.C. They constrict the blood vessels in an arm or leg to stop someone from bleeding out before they can get to a hospital for treatment.

Trooper Corey Berfield was the first to volunteer for training when Indiana State Police first considered outfitting all troopers with the devices. Now he trains almost all the troopers in the state on how to use it.

He says it's particularly important in rural areas of the state where an ambulance can be 20-30 minutes away.

Troopers have also used them to save the lives of people who put their own at risk.

In March, Douglas Gaultney barricaded himself inside a van in a Speedway neighborhood for more than six hours. He eventually got out and pointed a shotgun toward the ISP SWAT Team, forcing them to shoot him multiple times.

Moments later, troopers ran up to the man and applied two tourniquets until paramedics arrived.

State police say doctors at the hospital credited those officers and the tourniquets with saving Gaultney's life.

"It's important for people to understand that no matter what the situation, we're still going to assist and render aid to those people and serve the public in the best way that law enforcement knows how," Berfield said.

Police say you don't need a special device to place a tourniquet – a belt or shirt can do in a pinch. You should never place a tourniquet on anyone, though, unless you've had proper training.