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Stop the Bleed: EMS’s Response to Help Others Save Lives

by Margo Stern on March 19, 2018 at 3:35 PM


Both the news and social media outlets have been inundated with political statements and emotion-fueled arguments in the wake of the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. One cannot help but become embroiled in the gun control discussions that have since ensued, deeply desiring to find the right solution to preventing mass casualties.

Stepping out from the political umbrella associated with mass shooting events, there is another response to these incidents that is rarely being discussed but is at the forefront of the minds for those emergency personnel who respond to these events: how can more lives be saved when an event occurs? You may not be able to stop a shooting from happening, and no matter how much you protest, you may not be able to change gun laws, but you CAN start saving more lives today by learning the basics of wound care.

Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma (bleedingcontrol.org). In school shootings, blood loss is, understandably, one of the leading causes of fatalities. Within as short as five minutes, a major, bleeding wound could lead to death. Although EMS providers have begun Rescue Task Forces, teams that enter an active shooter scene despite it not being secure or under control, bystanders will always be the first individuals on scene. Students, staff members, and teachers are all present at the time of the shooting, which means they are a victim’s best chance of survival. If more individuals are to have a fighting chance at surviving an injury sustained during a shooting, they need to have immediate wound care initiated by those readily on scene.

Stop the Bleed, a campaign launched on October 6, 2015, came to full fruition in response to the Sandy Hook shooting. The goal of this campaign was—and is—to provide bystanders with the awareness, knowledge and skills necessary to stop uncontrolled bleeding and save lives. As part of the campaign, several free training courses are frequently offered throughout each state to equip bystanders with first aid basics. Further, trauma kits are being supplied, at little to no cost, to schools, public buildings and other key locations where AED kits are already housed.

National Stop the Bleed day, March 31, is just around the corner. This day will once again bring this campaign to light, something that is desperately needed in light of recent events. In addition to spreading the word about this important campaign that is too often out shadowed, National Stop the Bleed day aims to take active steps in preparing others with bleeding control skills. Specifically, many hospitals are offering FREE classes to promote education of any and all individuals. Classes are expected to also be held at schools, churches, and community centers to broaden the demographic and individuals trained in these life-saving techniques.

Critical injuries are inevitable, but being prepared to handle them is a choice. Take an active step in controlling events that are uncontrollable by educating yourself on how to stop the bleed and encouraging others to do so: visit bleedingcontrol.org today.

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This post was written by Margo Stern

Margo Stern is a technical writer at Intermedix. In this role, Margo is responsible for writing and editing end-user documentation in support of our software solutions for healthcare, government, EMS and various additional verticals. In addition to her role at Intermedix, Margo is also a EMT Paramedic for the Mequon Fire Department. Margo obtained her bachelor of science degree in english and professional writing from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

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