Metro-East News

First responders want to teach you how to ‘stop the bleed’ in case of mass shooting

No one expects to find themselves in a mass casualty event like Las Vegas or Sandy Hook, but now there is training available to help people survive such an attack.

The Edwardsville Fire Department has recently acquired training materials for “Stop the Bleed,” an initiative of the American College of Surgeons and the Hartford Consensus. “Stop the Bleed” is designed to train ordinary citizens and civilian organizations to stop the bleeding caused by a natural disaster or mass attack.

Massive bleeding, whether from an active shooter or a natural disaster, can result in death within 5-10 minutes, according to the announcement from the Edwardsville Fire Department. Similar to public classes in CPR and using an automated external defibrillator device, the program offers training in bleeding control techniques in emergency situations.

The release cited incidents such as the school shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado and Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut; the Century Movie Theater in Aurora, Colo.; and the recent shooting at Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas, calling them “a reality of modern American life.”

But the response has been mostly focused on law enforcement, according to the release; how to stop the shooting from happening, rather than the responses to them. Natural disasters such as hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico may leave first responders overtaxed, it said.

Outside Magazine recently reported that while Las Vegas hospitals treated 595 people following the Mandalay Bay shooting, only 200 were transported by ambulance. The rest arrived in pickup trucks, passenger cars, taxis and on foot, according to the article. One person actually stole a pickup truck and transported 10-15 people, while others were holding pressure on wounds when they themselves were shot.

In the weeks following the Las Vegas shooting, hospitals offering the “Stop the Bleed” classes were deluged with more people wanting to learn safe first aid techniques, running class after class all day, according to the Denver Post.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has its own “Stop the Bleed” site, along with specific instructions on ways to stop uncontrolled bleeding.

The American College of Surgeons created a national policy to help increase survival rates from active shooter and intentional mass casualty events after Sandy Hook, and recommended that teaching the public proper first aid techniquest to stop bleeding would significantly increase survival rates. In some places, “bleeding control stations” with tourniquets, hemostatic gauze and other blood-loss prevention materials are showing up next to AEDs and fire extinguishers.

Funding for Edwardsville’s “Stop the Bleed” program was provided through donations from the Edwardsville and Glen Carbon Kiwanis Clubs, Edwardsville Rotary Club and the Troy/Edwardsville Shrine Club. For more information, go to the Stop the Bleed website. To schedule a class for your organization, or to make a donation to the program, contact the Edwardsville Fire Department at 618-692-7541.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald