When a person suffers a traumatic injury, seconds count. In emergency medicine they call it “The Golden Hour”. Doctors agree that if a person with a traumatic injury is able to reach an operating room within one hour of injury, their chances of survival are greatly increased.
Sometimes an injury is so severe the wounded person doesn’t have an hour.
Police face danger every day that they hit the streets, and one of the biggest dangers they face is being shot. Bullet wounds can be particularly damaging, as they can cause massive tissue damage and can cause a person to exsanguinate in minutes.
That’s why Jessica Walker started F.I.R.S.T. Chance, a 501(c)3 non profit that raises money and provides emergency trauma kits to first responders. F.I.R.S.T. Chance stands for Frontline Incident Response Solutions and Training.
The kits all come with a tourniquet, combat gauze, and a pair of exam gloves. The kits can be worn right on the responder’s belt, and are good for treating life threatening trauma wounds, such as those that come from self harm, shootings, stabbings, and vehicle accidents. The responders can also use them on themselves should the need arise.
F.I.R.S.T. Chance provides the kits free of charge to any agency that asks. They are donation based, and receive no monetary support from any government agency.
Recently, F.I.R.S.T. Chance teamed up with Emergency Medicine physician Dr. Patrick McGauly, who is the head of the trauma department at University Health. Dr. McGualy teaches responders how to best employ the kits and other crucial lifesaving skills.
Jessica Walker is no stranger to the violence that many police officers encounters. A 12 year veteran of the Shreveport Police department herself, her eyes were opened after two of her coworkers and friends were killed by gunfire while on the job. When her husband, who is also a Shreveport Police officer, was shot she knew she had to do something.
“F.I.R.S.T. Chance was formed out of necessity and a changing law enforcement climate”, Walker said in an interview.
The organization has grown since it’s inception and now the organization trains all of the new police recruits with Shreveport Police. They also have trained and outfitted 13 agencies in the surrounding area. Once a kit is used, F.I.R.S.T. Chance replaces the kit at no charge to the agency, and the organization also collects data about the incidents.
According to their website, since 2015 F.I.R.S.T. Chance kits have saved the lives of 18 citizens, and the organization has donated over 600 kits to various departments.
While the Shreveport Police Department has been receptive of the organization and allows them into their academy, at this point in time no financial assistance of any kind comes from the department or from the city.
For more information about the F.I.R.S.T Chance program, visit their website.