Loudoun County’s Combined Fire and Rescue System (LC-CFRS) is again leading the way with innovative emergency medicine as one the first agencies in the United States, to carry whole blood that can be delivered on the emergency scene.
Each year hemorrhage or uncontrolled bleeding accounts for nearly 1.9 million deaths worldwide. Injuries are the number one killer in those under 50 years of age and loss of blood is the leading cause of preventable death from injury.
Whole blood is now being carried on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units in both Loudoun and Arlington Counties, a first for Virginia, and the Washington D.C. Metropolitan region. The Northern Virginia region is now the second regional coalition to develop this program in the nation, and the first on the East Coast. This program brings a level of injury care previously only available in the hospital directly to the point of injury saving precious time.
Carrying whole blood on vehicles was the next logical step in the FACT*R (Field Available Coordinated Transfusion Response) program that began in 2019 through a partnership with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services, the Northern Virginia EMS Council, and Inova Health System.
The FACT*R program came to fruition after a tragic accident in 2017 that took the life of a Loudoun County mother and critically injured her four passengers. On September 7, 2017, a large food truck that had been converted from a decommissioned school bus struck a passenger vehicle at the intersection of Evergreen Mills Road and Watson Road in Leesburg. The extreme impact from the crash left the passenger vehicle and its occupants heavily entrapped underneath the bus. First responders on the scene recognized that the extrication would be lengthy and made the lifesaving decision to get blood brought to the accident scene from area hospitals. As firefighters worked tirelessly to free the family, paramedics were able to reach the patients inside the wreckage and provide much needed blood to the most seriously injured. From that tragic incident, the concept of the regional FACT*R program was created to formally request blood on demand to an emergency scene.
“Loudoun will continue to work with our Northern Virginia regional EMS partners to expand this program to other jurisdictions and benefit the 2.7 million residents of Northern Virginia,” said System Chief Keith H. Johnson. “Here in the National Capitol Region we are one team, with one mission, to provide exceptional emergency care and treatment for our communities."
Carrying “forward-deployed” whole blood required research, training, policy development, new equipment and further partnership with regional hospitals and other stakeholders. All aspects of the program including temperature-controlled storage, logistics, tracking and on scene delivery must adhere to strict regulations.
“I was on the scene of that horrific accident in 2017 and witnessed, first hand, the lifesaving benefits that early administration of blood products can make,” said Doctor John Morgan, the Operational Medical Director for the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System. “Any first-of-its-kind program takes conviction, courage and confidence to succeed, and I am proud that Loudoun County is leading the way with innovative EMS practices.”
View a short video to learn more about FACT*R, the addition of whole blood to LC-CFRS EMS units and the Loudoun County paramedics who will deploy this potentially lifesaving treatment.
The success of the FACT*R program is directly impacted by the availability of blood from Inova Blood Donor Services. “Blood products donated through Inova stay local, right here in the Northern Virginia region, so your donation is truly an example of neighbors helping neighbors,” says System Chief Keith H. Johnson. LC-CFRS encourages you to make a lifesaving appointment to donate at one of our upcoming community blood drives.
SAVE THE DATE! Sign up details forthcoming.
October 9, 2020
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Training Academy
16600 Courage Court, Leesburg, VA 20176
*Precautions will be taken to ensure proper social distancing and the use of face coverings*