Stop the Bleed: Training Citizen Responders for Active Shooter Events

Written by Ryan Strait

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As of November 19, there have been more than 300 mass shooting events in the United States in 2018. With news of nearly one active shooter event every day, our society is in no way becoming numb to the expectation that mass casualties at the hands of criminals are now a new normal. The awareness and fear of being involved in a mas shooting event has gripped the nation as citizens are turning to their local public safety offices to learn how to prepare for a worst case scenario.

In October 2015, the White House created a national campaign called Stop the Bleed. This national awareness campaign and call to action aims to cultivate grassroots efforts to encourage bystanders to become equipped, trained and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. In the event of an active shooter, emergency personnel are often able to arrive at the scene within minutes, yet for a victim suffering from a gunshot wound, every second counts in guarding against loss of life, as a gunshot victim who is bleeding can die from blood loss within only five minutes. In these first few minutes, helping a victim to reduce loss of blood can be the difference between life and death.

Infographic: How Much Time Do You Have to Communicate in an Emergency

Bleeding Control Best Practices

Help spread the message of the Stop the Bleed campaign by regularly providing these lifesaving bleeding control instructions to member of your community:

1. Call 911 and request emergency assistance.

2. Identify the location of the wound(s) and apply firm pressure with both hands to the bleeding site. Use a bandage or piece of clothing to help if available.

3. If the bleeding does not cease, create, and apply pressure using a tourniquet. Wrap the tourniquet as high on the wounded extremity as possible. You may secure the tourniquet over clothing if necessary. Your belt can be used as a makeshift tourniquet if needed. If the bleeding still does not slow or stop, place a second tourniquet next to the first, lower down the extremity.

Additional Resources

If you are in an active shooter event, are safe from danger, are attempting to save a victim’s life, and you have easy access to the Internet, refer to this mobile optimized online resource and step-by-step guide to bleeding control from the Uniformed Services University.

 Promote Your Stop the Bleed Campaign

To help promote the importance of bystander engagement and foster a community-wide willingness to act during an emergency, follow these promotion best practices to spread the critical safety instructions of the Stop the Bleed campaign:

For more information on how to keep citizens informed and away from a dangerous active shooter event, click below to watch a webinar recording from our public safety experts to learn how to prepare for and communicate during an active shooter event.

Active Shooter Webinar Training for Local Government Public Safety Officers