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Trauma Response Training: Learning What You Hope You’ll Never Need

Knowing what to do in a jobsite or workplace emergency

Keeping our team members safe on the job is our number one priority. This is why the FGIA Fenestration Safety Committee makes it a priority to host a safety speaker at each of our conferences. As staff liaison for this group for the past three years, I’ve learned more than I ever thought possible about proper glass handling, ratings for cut-resistant apparel, accident investigation protocol and more.

But one of the presentations that stuck with me the most was one about how to respond to trauma, because it feels the most, potentially, applicable to everyday life. Trauma response training is like carrying an umbrella in your car with you: you take it with you hoping you won’t need it, but if you do end up needing it, you’ll be glad you have it.

What the training consisted of

Last year, FGIA conference participants learned the benefits of training employees on how to respond to trauma at facilities like manufacturing plants and construction sites. Independence Training leaders Glen and Drew Stilson shared tips for stopping bleeding, assessing patients and creating an emergency response plan that works under stress as part of their presentation and multiple hands-on sessions during the event.

“We teach field medicine used in battlefields or in remote rural areas,” says Glen Stilson during the session. “Our goal is saving lives, and that might happen in less clinical settings.” Stilson adds people are generally safer when they realize what can go wrong, and they follow safety guidelines and wear PPE better.

A large part of trauma response training is mental preparedness on top of education, according to Stilson. “Most people have an unrealistic idea of what happens in a medical emergency,” he says. “Stress inoculation is needed.”

Aside from potentially saving a life, trauma response training benefits individuals overall. “Off-the-job use of training benefits friends and family, communities, themselves,” says Drew Stilson. “The training can help build teams and confidence. It gives team members opportunities to build up confidence in each other, too.”

Steps to take

Perhaps most helpful of all, Drew shared the acronym MARCH, which lists what steps to take in a specific order to assess a patient’s risk of death.

M - Massive hemorrhage: Ensure the patient is not bleeding to death

A - Airway: Ensure the patient has a clear airway

R - Respirations: Ensure the patient is breathing regularly

C - Circulation: Ensure the patient has pulse

H - Hypothermia: Treat the patient for shock and maintain their body temperature

Using the “MARCH” system, the hands-on sessions led by Independence Training helped participants learn how to quickly apply a tourniquet, pack wounds and assess patients in the field. Participants were encouraged to purchase first aid kits that included the safety items they were taught to use. One member went back to his company and made that purchase not knowing that a simple, inexpensive tourniquet would save a team member’s life a short time later.

“You don't need a medical degree to save someone's life,” Stilson says. “These are things you can and should know. As Ben Franklin once said, ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’”

This and other safety sessions from FGIA events can be found at Member login is required.



Angela Dickson

Angela Dickson is marketing and communications director for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. Contact her at