More than 250 high school teachers across the nation participated in certification training to become provisional instructors in the First Aid for Severe Trauma (FAST)TM program funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).  The training was led by Dr. Craig Goolsby, FAST program Principal Investigator. The FAST program consists of training for high school students on how to stop bleeding and treat injuries before first responders arrive at the scene.

These online trainings are part of a three-year effort by the Uniformed Services University’s (USU) National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) and the American Red Cross, in partnership with teachers and medical experts, to develop FAST curriculum for high school students. Although these trainings were initially intended to be in-person sessions, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the move away from traditional classrooms to remote, digital learning platforms.

Virtual focus groups examined challenges and potential solutions for FAST implementation at the state and local levels and in school districts and classrooms. The train-the-trainers sessions, covering a variety of injury scenarios, instruct how to assess scene safety, determine whether bleeding is life-threatening or not, communicate effectively with EMTs and others at the scene, apply direct pressure and place a tourniquet correctly. In virtual sessions, participants also practiced skills on simulated legs, under supervision by USU medical students who were previously trained as provisional FAST instructors. 

The final step of instructor certification will be bridge training, to be developed online by the American Red Cross by 2021. Curriculum for the bridging course will consist of three modalities: instructor-led (classroom) training, and blended format (online didactic session plus in-person hands-on training), either of which leads to American Red Cross certification. There is also a Web (online-only) training that leads to a participation certificate. The American Red Cross will host the finalized course, once available, on its learning management system.

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