Lives saved with excess equipment in Keystone State

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services

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Excess lifesaving equipment and supplies routinely get released to first responders across the U.S. through DLA Disposition Services sites via the agency’s Law Enforcement Support Office.

Pennsylvania’s New Castle Police Department serves the Lawrence County community, about halfway between Pittsburgh and Lake Erie. Department officials recently shared some feedback on how access to military property helps their officers protect the lives of local citizens.

In June, New Castle Police Officer Steven Brooks said he received a call to assist neighboring Shenango Township on an “active shooter/person shot.”

“When I arrived, other officers requested a medical kit,” Brooks said. “I brought the kit I received from [New Castle PD] Lt. Kevin Seelbaugh. The H&H [Compressed] Gauze and the pressure bandage were used on a male who had two gunshot wounds to the abdomen. The first responding officer from Shenango Township Police Department was Officer [Vince] Buonpane, who served in the Marine Corps and was familiar with the medical kit. He applied the bandages and controlled the bleeding until EMS arrived.”     

In an April incident, a motorcyclist and his passenger were traveling behind an SUV and struck the vehicle as it stopped to make a left turn. The force of the impact effectively amputated the rider’s leg and left both with severe injuries. Witnesses attempted first aid but failed to control the bleeding while using a jacket and belt. According to Seelbaugh, the first New Castle police officer to reach the scene, an Army veteran named Sgt. David Viggiano, evaluated the situation and stopped the bleeding with an excess combat tourniquet obtained through DLA’s Law Enforcement Support Office. Seelbaugh said the motorcyclist survived and credited his life to Viggiano’s assistance.

“Had we not obtained that tourniquet from DLA Susquehanna, that young man would probably have died from blood loss,” Seelbaugh said. “He lost his leg, but was grateful to be alive. The young man is already back to work with a local paving company.”

Seelbaugh said that since those incidents occurred, his department has used excess military first aid equipment in two additional shootings to stop bleeding until ambulance crews arrived. He expressed thanks to the DLA workforce for its support.   

“All of that came from your site and the victims all survived,” he said. “Those of us on the receiving end of the work you all do - and those who have no idea what you do – are grateful for all of your hard work and dedication.”