Pulse nightclub shooting, lessons revealed in tragedy
Every month we hear horrific stories related to Active Shooter, mass casualty events. This past Sunday we woke to up yet another report of a senseless act of mass violence. Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, is now the new case study for mass shootings in the United States. More than 100 young Americans were gunned down, resulting in 50 people killed and 53 injured.
Much of the media attention is drawn on the background of the shooter. Questions include, “Why would he do this? What was his intent? How many guns did he carry? How did he get a rifle?” All of those questions warrant a response, but they serve no benefit to the dead and their devastated family members. Communities will demand stricter laws related to gun control and improved monitoring of extremists. The question that should be asked and answered is “How can we reduce the number of people killed during an incident of mass casualty?” As a nation we must do better to improve citizens’ chances to survive and that can only be achieved through preparedness and response.
Across the United States law enforcement agencies and emergency medical responders tirelessly train to improve their response times related to these types of mass casualty incidents. After the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School shooting, policing practices related to Active Shooter incidents were forever changed. Prior to that mass shooting, it was standard police practice to surround a site location and maintain containment, while awaiting the arrival of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officers. Today, officers are trained to move into the threat area to engage the suspect as a single officer or in small units to ideally reduce the chance of the suspect (s) having time to continue killing. Those who work in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are also making efforts to improve their ability to render rapid response as well. Traditionally, EMS personnel will stage outside the danger zone of a violent incident until law enforcement can provide a safe environment for medical response. Now some medical responders are utilizing a new concept called Rescue Task Force. These are small teams of EMT/Paramedics trained to enter these environments to render aid under the protection of the police escorts.
Why are first responders changing their actions to save lives? TIME! However, with these advancements in training and rapid response from first responders response times are still too long and lives are being lost. The human body contains roughly five liters of blood, and injuries involving a major arterial bleed can result in death within three minutes or less. So many casualties are a result of the victim not having a fighting chance due to the lack of civilian training and accessibility to Public Access Bleeding Control Stations to “Stop the Bleed.” Some recent incidents include the Bataclan Theater terror attack in Paris. First responders did not enter the facility until 150 minutes, a full 2 ½ hours, after the onset of the attack. Numerous victims, who survived the incident, indicated victims were trapped inside the facility injured, bleeding and waiting for medical assistance. Eighty-nine people died as a result of their injuries.
Fast-forward to Sunday, June 12, 2016, the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL. The police responded to an Active Shooter incident within minutes however the incident turned into a hostage situation. Officers were able to eliminate the threat and secure the scene 180 minutes, a full 3 hours, after initial reports of the shooting. Many victims and bystanders can be seen on news media outlets explaining how they helped themselves or others by making tourniquets from t-shirts and packing wounds with bandanas. One man held onto a victim in a hugging fashion to stop blood loss, while an officer drove them to a nearby trauma center. Americans are very altruistic when it comes to helping others and we often hear of heroic efforts after mass casualty events. Unfortunately make shift tourniquets and wound packing with bandanas are not as effective as the materials provided within a Public Access Bleeding Control Stations. Civilians cannot always depend on law enforcement, EMS or law makers to provide them with immediate care. The ability to self-treat is the best mechanism for improved survival.
A nationally-certified public safety professional with more than 10 years of experience in advanced life-saving techniques, I created Blue Spear Solutions because I recognized that people can protect themselves during incidents of violence; and innocent civilians are needlessly dying of survivable injures. When the White House implemented the “Stop the Bleed” campaign, a collaborative effort to engage the public to have an active role in the response to disasters of all sizes, I developed the Co. A.S.S.I.S.T.® program. It is the nation’s first all-encompassing Active Shooter response training. The program consists of a three-tier systematic approach to preparation: Active Shooter Awareness and Response, Bleeding Control Techniques and Strategic Placement of Public Access Bleeding Control Stations. Active Shooter situations, like the one at Pulse Nightclub are often unpredictable and deadly. I know that lives will be saved as a result of advanced life-saving training and proper placement of life-saving equipment.
To learn more about our Co. A.S.S.I.S.T.® program and our Advanced Public Access Bleeding Control Stations, visit our website, www.bluespearsolutions.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*About the Author: Blue Spear Solutions CEO, Greg Tony, is a nationally-certified public safety professional with more than 10 years of experience in advanced life-saving techniques including Active Shooter Threat Instruction, Basic Tactical Medical Response and is a recognized State of Florida Emergency Medical Responder. With active shooter situations and mass bombings on the rise in our nation and world-wide, Greg researched best practices to preserve and sustain life, empowering individuals to protect themselves and help others. His research and passion to save lives led to the development of the Co. A.S.S.I.S.T.® program and creation of Blue Spear Solutions.