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Saving Ourselves: Supporting the 'Stop the Bleed' Campaign

Apr 30, 2019

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By Dana Basham

When I turn on the news, I brace myself for the worst. Today, violence is ever present and mass casualties, often times intentional, are happening all around us and far too often.

Being a college student in today’s society, I cannot help but feel worried. From the Sandy Hook shooting to the Parkland shooting, dozens of people have died yet almost no change has been made.

It has gotten to the point where we cannot wait around for our government to decide whether are lives are worth it or not. We need to make changes and take precautions ourselves.

If there is a shooting or another blood stricken tragedy, most bleed out in five to eight minutes. This short amount of time is precious and often times medical professionals are not able to get to those who are injured quick enough.

Bleeding out is preventable with basic knowledge and training.

Through Stop the Bleed, civilians are given the training, empowerment and skills to be of help during a bleeding emergency. Through this campaign, civilians become the first responders themselves and are able to save lives.

The Stop the Bleed campaign is taking a stance, saying that if these mass casualties are going to occur, then we are going to be able to know when and how to take action. In the event of a tragedy, whether that is a mass casualty, a car crash or any other situation resulting in injured individuals, I want to be able to help.

It is heartbreaking to think how many lives could have been saved if those already on the scene knew basic medical training, like how to apply direct pressure to a wound. During a mass casualty “80% of victims are transported to hospitals by someone other than a trained ambulance crew”, which means time spent transporting the injured individual could also be time spent applying firm pressure to a wound.

When the Las Vegas shooting occurred, victims were arriving at the hospitals in the backs of Ubers and on the backs of strangers.

When bleeding can be controlled or stopped, it is baffling why so many die from the loss of it. Most deaths are due to blood loss and not the original injury sustained, meaning that the knowledge of slowing down or stopping blood loss all together could be the reason someone makes it to the hospital alive.

During the Sandy Hook shooting, police entered the school ten minutes after the first 911 call was made. Those 10 minutes are precious in an event like this. Bystanders having first aid training on how to stop or slow down bleeding could mean life or death.

This training would not only help with knowing what to do but also build confidence. It is scary to step up and help. If you are like me, you can become scared of doing the wrong thing or making an issue worse. But with this training, that anxiety-induced mindset can be calmed and individuals can get the proper training and guidance to help them feel empowered to be able save a life.

These trainings are conducted at hospitals, fire and police departments and other health departments. They last about an hour long and are free of charge. This is one easy and simple action to take that could bare life-changing results.

Horrific acts of violence should never be seen as a new norm or something that we need to accept. It is important to note that Stop the Bleed is not normalizing violence or mass casualties. It doesn’t hurt to know what to do in case you bare witness to something that requires the aide of a first responder.

This is a minor step in the right direction but is in no way a solution. The next step is looking at violence and mass casualties in the face and saying no more. The laws and legislations that need to be put in place are in the government’s hand.

The solution to violence goes beyond clear backpacks and metal detectors. It even goes beyond the Stop the Bleed campaign.Change will happen when action is taken. But knowing how to save a life is a good start.

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