“The number one killer of people from age one to 43 is traumatic injury,” said Rob Wylie.
That's why the retired Cottleville Fire Chief co-founded First Care Provider, a non-profit aimed at teaching civilians how to help people injured in a disaster like the monstrous hurricanes that hit the U.S. this year or Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.
“Our slogan is 'First there, first care,'" said Wylie. "The dirty little secret is when you call 911 it's three to five minutes, seven minutes before they can get to you even in the best systems in the world. And the fact of the matter is you can bleed to death in three minutes.”
First Care Provider courses focus on practical, life-saving treatments like tourniquet application and wound-packing.
“It's easy. Anyone can learn it. We've taught this to 8-year-old kids and they do it with proficiency.”
Wylie showed 5 On Your Side the basic tools of the job and then gave us a demonstration. But he says the real lesson can only be learned through hands-on training.
"You can't learn this stuff by watching a video on the internet. You have to actually do it."
He says the biggest fear civilians have to overcome is making the situation worse.
“You can’t make it worse,” said Wylie. “The only thing that’s worse is letting that person die. And that’s what’ll happen if you don’t do something.”
Wylie says the chance of surviving a critical bleeding case is 90% with early treatment.
“There's nothing worse than having to watch somebody die. And with a little bit of training, forethought and pre-planning you can do something. You can make a difference.”
You can find First Care Provider and many similar training programs online and through the Department of Homeland Security. Regardless of the course you choose, Wylie hopes the message will spread to all corners of the country to help save lives.
Wylie says the type of trauma kits he recommends can be purchased online for around $50.