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Responders trained on tourniquet techniques

Published 9:52 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

First responders who cared for a man who arm was severed in a collision with a bladed piece of farm machinery had the right training at the right time.

The week before the crash in which 45-year-old Henry Lee Funches’ arm was severed, dozens of firefighters and deputies gathered at the former Culkin School for classes in providing care to victims with severed limbs and gunshot wounds.

The three-day class sessions were individually tailored for emergency medical technicians, law enforcement and “just the regular firefighter,” Warren County fire coordinator Jerry Biggs said.

“Everything played out — the need for the training and putting it to use,” Warren County fire coordinator Jerry Briggs said.

Funches was injured about 1:45 p.m. Monday when his northbound truck collided with a southbound trailer hauling farm equipment on Fisher Ferry Road.

One of the disc blades on the equipment severed Funches’ left arm at the shoulder and then severed his hand from the arm.

He was taken by helicopter to University of Mississippi Medical Center. Funchess was in fair condition Wednesday, hospital spokesman Dustin Barnes said.

During training the week before, deputies and firefighters were issued tourniquets, Briggs said. There was not enough of Funches’ arm left to apply a tourniquet, but first responders were able to control bleeding using skills they practiced in the class, Briggs said.

“It takes the human body from a major artery rupture about three minutes to bleed out before you die,” Briggs said. “You don’t have a whole lot of time to wait for an ambulance.”

The first to arrive were the county’s volunteer EMS corps made up of firefighters from a number of departments, Briggs said.

Sheriff Martin Pace credits them with saving Funches’ life.

“The first responders with the most hands-on in preventing this person from bleeding to death were the first responders with the fire departments, who have also been through the training,” Pace said.

Pace recovered the severed arm and took it to paramedics waiting to fly Funches to the Jackson hospital.

“When the Vicksburg Fire Departments ambulance and rescue arrive on the scene, the emergency room has just come to us. We have some of the best trained, best equipped emergency medical technicians and paramedics in the South, right here with the Vicksburg Fire Department,” Pace said. “We just have a level of emergency services in Vicksburg and Warren County that most communities are not privileged enough to have.”

The training was offered at no cost to the county, Warren County Emergency Manager John Elfer said. It also covered basic CPR and bleeding control.

“We’re trying to get everybody more training, especially if it’s free,’ Elfer said.