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A New Measure to Save Lives: Stop the Bleed Campaign


Educating about CPR: A successful campaign

The American Red Cross has had tremendous success educating bystanders on Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for decades. The CPR campaign has saved countless lives, as bystanders were trained in performing CPR on victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

Posters of how to do CPR are in numerous businesses throughout the country, showing those not trained in CPR how to perform it should the need arise. Overall, the campaign led to an increased knowledge of how to act quickly when someone’s life is in jeopardy. Further, it allowed for bystanders to care for individuals before emergency medical technicians and paramedics could arrive at an incident.

Active shooter situations

In the last few years, the United States has seen a tragic increase in active shooter situations resulting in the loss of life for individuals shot during these situations. Many victims die because they cannot get the medical assistance they need due to the delay between paramedics arriving on scene and the police clearing the building. 

A new campaign under the framework of the American Red Cross’s CPR training initiatives hopes to change that. The Department of Homeland Security's Stop the Bleed Campaign is a new concept that teaches bystanders how to quickly care for shooting victims until professional emergency help can arrive.

Stop the Bleed Campaign

The idea behind the Stop the Bleed Campaign is that individuals in a community are trained in simple first aid to stop major bleeding after an incident.

The Stop the Bleed Campaign lists bleeding control steps on a poster the same way the CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver are printed on posters in restaurants. The poster lists very basic information showing how bystanders could quickly control massive bleeding waiting for 911 professionals to arrive. And the poster also lists how to effectively apply a tourniquet if it is needed.

How the Campaign Will Help

People are generally aware of how to conduct CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver and this will help educate bystanders on how to control major bleeding. The simple act of applying direct pressure or applying a tourniquet can prevent a person from losing too much blood before they can get pre-hospital medical attention.

Further, in an active shooting scenario, it can be difficult for emergency medical personnel to enter the scene to treat patients. If bystanders inside know basic skills to control major bleeding, many lives could be saved.

Local Government Support

While the campaign will make tremendous strides in educating the public on controlling major bleeding, the posters will need to be widely distributed throughout communities around the country.

It is imperative, therefore, for local government elected officials to help in this endeavor. Local government officials will need to educate citizens in their respective communities about the Stop the Bleed Campaign. Many citizens may not be aware of the campaign and it is crucial for local government officials to work to change this.

A campaign is a wonderful idea, but it simply won't be successful unless there is a solid marketing effort to get information to the citizens. The more support the local government can give this campaign, the better the campaign will run.

The increase in active shooter scenarios in the United States is beyond alarming. It is a situation that requires immediate and drastic changes to policies and to citizen education. The Stop the Bleed Campaign will provide excellent educational resources and will potentially save lives - seconds count.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.