The latest shooting in Texas has tragically taken more lives in an act of senseless violence. Arguments for and against tighter gun control have been flooding the internet, and people’s emotions are understandably volatile. Everyone wants to work toward some kind of solution to the increasing violence in the United States–we all want it to stop. Maybe there’s an answer in that regard, maybe there’s not. But one thing is for sure: preparedness for a possible future mass casualty event is absolutely necessary.
Many of us at SOFREP have been constant supporters of the “Stop the Bleed” program. The Stop the Bleed website has a photo scrolling on their front page that reads: “See something, Do something.” This is a class that can literally give you the means to save a life the next time one of these shootings happen, because–gun control or not–it will happen.
These are not skills only relegated to mass shootings and military war zones. When I was a kid, a friend of mine accidentally ran through a glass door. A shard cut his arm right open and could have killed him. An adult knew what to do, stopped the bleed and rushed him off to a hospital where he would wind up with a crazy amount of stitches. Accidents happen every day; setting yourself up to treat life-threatening wounds could be the difference between standing over someone as they bleed out, pushing a towel or a shirt onto their wound, to actually providing effective, basic care.
If you’re a veteran and you know the basics of tourniquets and packing wounds, understand that treating traumatic injuries is one of the most perishable skills in your toolbox. I’m ashamed to say that I broke out a tourniquet the other day and I fumbled around with it for a bit longer than I care to admit–I’ve only been out for four years. Break out that gauze and wrap those tourniquets. Practice. Sign up for a Stop the Bleed course and get a good refresher. The tools are out there to keep you current on these skills.