Dustin Talacko has been an Omaha firefighter and paramedic for seven years. His work days are 12 hours long and often include responding to life-or-death emergencies.
“A person can bleed to death in sheer minutes,” said Talacko, owner of Talacko Safety Solutions.
He also knows that, according to the FBI, it can take police up to 10 minutes to respond to an active shooter situation. That’s why, in his spare time, he is working to provide the tools and education needed to stop emergency bleeds during tragic events across the country.
The 36-year-old founded his business in January 2019.
Talacko said the idea came together while he was attending graduate school for his Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in emergency services management at Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Alabama.
The day after his realization that he could create kits to help people stop severe bleeding, the Las Vegas shooting at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino happened. The shooting reportedly killed 58 people—many of whom were attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival—and wounded another 422. The following panic resulted in over 800 injuries.
Hearing of this tragedy gave Talacko the drive to focus on triage response and awareness in the event of an active shooter situation for schools and other venues across the United States.
He said the goal is to bridge the gap between emergency personnel response times and the short window when responders can stop a potentially fatal bleed. The kits include one tourniquet, a six-inch pressure bandage, two rolls of sterile gauze, trauma shears, one permanent marker, two pairs of nitrile gloves, and instructions to control bleeding. The contents are stored in a commercial sealable bag. Wall enclosures can hold up to 28 of the kits, which are stored in a tactical medical bag.
Talacko wants to get his kits into every school to make sure they’re prepared in the event of emergencies. He said the kits are available at all Omaha Public Schools.
Before working with schools, Talacko worked with area fire departments and emergency personnel. He raised about $22,000 to pilot his kits for 16 medic units, seven battalion chief rigs, and one paramedic shift supervisor.
“I didn’t really have a preconceived notion of this,” Talacko said. “For me, it’s an idea that’s going to save lives. In this day and age, we need to start planning for the worst.”
Talacko said his company teamed up with the nonprofit Stop the Bleed, which provides training to pack wounds and perform improvised tourniquets. The Stop the Bleed initiative was activated by the American College of Surgeons, and the White House fully endorsed it in 2015.
The initiative’s 90-minute course was condensed into 60 minutes for Talacko’s company trainings.
“We need to teach people how to stop bleeds and place tourniquets,” he said.
This school year the kits will be available at Westside Community Schools. Westside Foundation organized the effort and found donations; they are not going to be funded through taxpayer dollars.
“Safety is a top priority at Westside,” Director of Communications and Engagement Brandi Paul said via email. “The Stop the Bleed initiative will help us equip and train our students and staff to be prepared for an emergency, with kits distributed to all of our schools for the 2019/2020 school year.”
While Talacko designed his safety kits with active shooter situations in mind, companies have approached him about having them at construction sites, steel factories, and other hazardous work environments. Talacko also is working with CHI Health Center Omaha and Valmont Industries, who plans to take the kits internationally.
“[We] want to get this equipment and training coast to coast,” Talacko said.
Visit talackosafetysolutions.com for more information.
This article was printed in the August/September 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.