‘Active-shooter’ first-aid classes coming to Vancouver
Emergency-care nurses are gearing up to offer “active-shooter” first-aid courses to the public in Vancouver.
Stop the Bleed teaches ordinary people to stop massive bleeding that would kill a victim long before first-responders arrive.
“This is a response from the American College of Surgeons to mass-casualty incidents, especially mass shootings in the United States,” said emergency-care nurse Landon James. “But it could be for anything that causes bleeding, which is the No. 1 cause of death in trauma cases. Most people with an injury will be fine until help arrives, but that is not the case with (massive) bleeding. You won’t live to see an ambulance.”
The non-profit Society of Professionals in Emergency Care just needs a $5,000 donation to purchase practice limbs and other equipment needed to teach the course in B.C. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.)
Stop the Bleed was developed after the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. “We are not immune to mass shootings in Canada and the Toronto shooting shows that,” said James. “Or you could just as easily fall while you are hiking or have a skiing accident where you cut your leg.”
A mass shooting that killed two people and injured 13 more in Toronto’s Greektown last month sparked an uptick in interest in the course at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, where it has been taught since last August. Witnesses said the shooter, Faisal Hussain, was selectively targeting women in his attack.
“There is a feeling now that this is a necessary skill for the public to learn,” said Sharon Ramagnano of the Sunnybrook Hospital Science Centre. “After the shooting, people were feeling like this is a responsibility, it’s something that you must know.” Sunnybrook has put about 650 people through the course in Toronto and everyone from individuals and clubs to schools and companies are signing up.
The course is simple, pragmatic and can be delivered in just over an hour. “You don’t need to take a whole day off work,” said James, one of three volunteer Stop the Bleed instructors qualified in B.C.
SOPEC — which designs emergency-response courses for medical professionals — will deliver classes to the public in Vancouver to start, but plans to take it all over B.C. to community groups and schools. “We already travel a lot teaching, so it’s easy to add a free Stop the Bleed course for the public and get someone like the Rotary Club to fill the room for us,” he said.
The hands-on class delivers three main skills: applying direct pressure, use of tourniquets and wound packing.
“This is simple material even for the general public,’ he said.