(ORLANDO, Fla.) – Violent events have steadily risen in recent years. And while we all hope we are never in the middle of a mass casualty situation, being prepared to help the wounded can be empowering in what can feel like a helpless situation. However, a new national survey by Orlando Health found most Americans feel unprepared to help in the aftermath of a mass attack. While most feel they could call 911 and about half could provide information to first responders, that confidence level drops when it comes to administering life-saving aid (42%) or applying a tourniquet (41%).
“Most commonly, the first person to encounter a bleeding victim is another victim or bystander and they can really be the difference between whether somebody lives or dies,” said Joseph Ibrahim, MD, trauma medical director at the Level One Trauma Center at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC). “Just having basic knowledge about how to control bleeding and care for a wound can save a life.”
It’s something that became abundantly clear after 44 victims of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub mass shooting were treated in ORMC’s trauma center. That’s why experts partnered with the national organization, Stop the Bleed to provide training for schools, businesses and organizations to empower everyday citizens in the wake of tragedy. The courses center around three simple but critical skills: Applying pressure, packing a wound and using a tourniquet.
“We try to answer any questions that would come in a trauma situation, like how long a tourniquet can be safely used, how to keep a victim calm and the signs of life-threatening bleeding,” Dr.Ibrahim said. “Addressing these issues in a controlled setting and getting hands-on practice with lifelike mannequins helps someone apply what they’ve learned to a real-life situation.”
Ibrahim says Stop the Bleed participants have already reported back that they have utilized their training to help victims of car crashes and household accidents. He’s hoping the program will continue to expand so more people across the country are prepared to help when it’s needed most. For information on training sessions near you or to implement the program in your community, go to StopTheBleed.org or OrlandoHealth.com/StopTheBleed.