Stop the Bleed, Save Lives

Every time there is a mass shooting, bombing, natural disaster or even traumatic accident people ask ‘What could I do if that happened where I live?” Some suggest higher levels of security, others tighter borders or even gun control. Although these may or may not impact specific types of events, no magic wand can make all such events disappear. No matter what we as a people do, bad things will happen. And while we may not be able to stop them, we can be better prepared to respond to them. That is the premise behind the national Stop the Bleed campaign. With a little training, you can be prepared to treat yourself and loved ones, or even assist first responders if a tragedy strikes where you live or work.

The Boston Marathon Bombing of 2013 was a gruesome scene, even for those who had seen combat or served decades in public safety. Two pressure cooker-housed IEDs detonated in quick succession and resulted in 3 dead and hundreds wounded, including 16 victims who lost limbs as a result of the blast damage. But there were important lessons learned in the aftermath, including the importance of immediate trauma care and bleeding control.

Due in part to the lessons learned during the Boston Marathon bombing, and supported by those learned during over a decade of fighting in two wars, teaching civilians and first responders how to assist with immediate bleeding control became a priority. In 2015, the White House launched the Stop the Bleed campaign. This is a grassroots level effort to train, equip and empower those who may be bystanders to provide help until professionals can arrive. But it was only after the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that the program gained widespread national attention.

How does it work?

The Stop the Bleed program is a three-pronged approach to increase the number of average citizens who may find themselves as bystanders after trauma occurs and who can become de facto first responders.

  1. Recruit instructors- those who already possess the necessary first aid training can sign up to become Stop the Bleed instructors.
  2. Connect potential students with the program- those interested in learning how to control traumatic bleeding can sign up for a local course, often free of charge, by visiting
  3. Spread the word- by using a combination of social media, celebrity spokespeople and shared success stories, the program aims to increase public awareness and its importance, much like was done during the early days of CPR.

The training is basic first aid boiled down to an easy to learn and remember focus on bleeding control – call 911, apply pressure with the hands, apply dressing & press, and apply tourniquets. The hope is that many will take the course, and few will ever need it, but should the need arise, even one properly trained bystander could make the difference.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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