Not the usual blog post
Last week Pat and I with three other members of our church community became certified in the Stop the Bleed® program. We are part of a growing number of persons who acknowledge that we face risks that are rare but life-threatening: mass shootings. In the minutes between the time that an assailant has been neutralized and the arrival of the first ambulances, some victims in such attacks have not survived because of severe bleeding.
Shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut, the American College of Surgeons and several federal agencies developed Stop the Bleed®, a program designed to train non-medical persons in the simple steps that can effectively prevent severe loss of blood, the most common cause of death in mass shootings. Bleeding injuries that are sometimes fatal also occur under more ordinary circumstances: workplace accidents, hunting accidents, falls through glass and motor vehicle collisions.
Even the best-trained responders may be limited in what they can do if the proper materials are not immediately available. You are no doubt familiar with wall-mounted cabinets that contain an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at many public venues such as airports, fitness centers, libraries and medical offices. They are already being paired with similar-looking cabinets that hold public access bleeding control stations that contain dressings, tourniquets and other supplies that can stop serious bleeding quickly.
The shooting that occurred during Passover at the Chabad Synagogue in Poway, just a few miles from our neighborhood, was our wake-up call. Our church now has a Medical Response Team consisting of physicians, nurses, paramedics, EMTs and military corpsmen and medics, all of whom are committed to respond in case of an attack. They will have access within seconds to several caches of medical supplies such as those in bleeding control stations that have been prepositioned at various places in the church buildings.
Stop the Bleed® courses are available throughout the country, usually at no cost. The class lasts only about one hour during which students learn the basic steps of bleeding control: pressure, packing and tourniquet use. Go to http://www.bleedingcontrol.org where you will find class locations and registration information as well as a detailed description of the program and how it began.
My reason for making this blog post goes beyond the desire to inform you about the Stop the Bleed® program. It’s my hope that those of you with contacts in your community will not only spread this message but will organize teams such as ours in your own faith communities, places of business and schools. I encourage you to pass this blog to everyone you care about.
If you would like more information, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-732-1414
“The only thing more tragic than a death from bleeding…is a death that could have been prevented.” (From the Stop the Bleed® handbook, What Everyone Should Know to Stop Bleeding after an Injury.)