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Latest News: Public Health News

Active Shooter-An Emerging Public Health Threat

Monday, December 19, 2016  
Posted by: James MacNeal, DO, MPH, FACEP, FAEMS, NRP
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Active Shooter-An Emerging Public Health Threat

EMS Medical Director Mercyhealth Prehospital & Emergency Services Center
(Former NALBOH Project Director)

Chris Wistrom, DO
Associate EMS Medical Director Mercyhealth Prehospital & Emergency Services Center

Sadly, a recent FBI report shows that incidences of school and workplace violence are increasing annually. This is a very real threat to public health.  Even in the best of circumstances, emergency medical service (EMS) providers may not be in a position to immediately render aid to the wounded.  Because of this, it is up to the individuals at the scene to help the victims and stop the bleeding.  Studies show that hemorrhage (bleeding) represents the largest percentage of preventable deaths in penetrating trauma, such as shootings.

Utilizing knowledge and skills in systems-based integrated community response(largely learned while working at NALBOH), Dr. MacNeal co-developed a unique and inexpensive training program and casualty care kit.  In an effort to save innocent lives, the Casualty Care course applies the lessons learned from the global war on terror to your setting by teaching the basics of hemorrhage control.  Research also shows that a feeling of helplessness is one of the leading causes of post-traumatic stress disorder. By empowering school staffs to act, we hope to bring them peace of mind.

The program is designed with a focus on providing web-based training in the key principles of casualty care with emphasis on bleeding control.  The hands on components are then done with local volunteers and easy to make training props.  By not charging for the training, funds can be utilized to purchase actual functioning kits.  The goal of the program is to have a Classroom Casualty Kit in every classroom in America.

The development and implementation of this program led to the cooperative relationships necessary to build the Rescue Task Force.  A Rescue Task Force can rapidly enter a mass casualty event and begin immediate treatment with appropriate ballistic and patient care equipment.  Public Health can position itself as a leader of the classroom casualty care project in the community in an effort to bring all partners to the table.  By primarily addressing response needs of the schools and having public health take the lead for this program the public safety partners can find common ground.  This leads to partnering and the most effective use of existing community resources to save lives.

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