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Saving Lives in Sacred Spaces

April 1, 2024 jill Blog
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How Churches Can Respond to Mass Shootings This Stop the Bleed Month

In the wake of the recent tragic shooting at Lakewood Church in Texas, the need for proactive emergency preparedness in places of worship has never been more apparent. As the nation observes the month of May as Stop the Bleed Month, churches should consider the importance of investing in bleeding control kits and other emergency preparedness solutions to protect their community.

The Heartsmart team spoke with Cardio Partners founder Brian Leonard, a former EMT, and leader in the emergency preparedness industry, to shed light on the significance of bleeding control kits and the measures churches can take to enhance their readiness for unexpected emergencies.

First Aid Kits vs. Bleeding Control Kits

Did you know that there is a difference between a first aid kit and a bleeding control kit? While first aid kits are designed for minor injuries, bleeding control kits are designed for life-or-death situations.

Leonard stresses, “In the event of an active shooter incident, a victim can bleed out within 2-4 minutes. Having a bleeding control kit on hand can make the difference between life and death, providing crucial support until first responders arrive.”

Bleeding control kits contain items like trauma shears, tourniquets, and compressed gauze—items that can help keep victims from a shooting incident alive until help arrives. One of the most common bleeding control kits on the market is the Stop the Bleed kit, a compact pouch filled with first aid gear and instructions to help streamline bleeding control for lay rescuers.

Lessons Learned from Lakewood Tragedy

The recent tragedy at Lakewood Church serves as a stark reminder that active shooter events can occur anywhere at any time.

Leonard explains the importance of proactive measures, stating, “We want to ensure businesses never have to wonder if we were prepared. By taking proactive steps, such as implementing safety stations with training, automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and bleeding control kits, churches can save lives during medical or injury emergencies, including active shooter situations.”

Emergency Support from Local Law Enforcement

Local law enforcement and emergency services can help churches implement Stop the Bleed initiatives and bring a unique perspective. First responders understand firsthand the positive impact of preparedness on numerous lives.

How Can Local Law Enforcement Be Involved?

Leonard emphasizes that first responders can aid churches by conducting drills and providing essential training on how to respond to active shooter events. This collaborative approach ensures that churches are well-equipped to handle emergencies effectively.

Some other ways law enforcement can be involved include:

  • Request security assessments from officers to identify potential risks and recommendations for improving safety measures.
  • Ask for officer assistance at events, services, or community gatherings with a large number of crowds.
  • Share your church’s Emergency Action Plan (EAP) with local 911 dispatchers to facilitate coordination in the event of an unforeseen incident.
  • Establish a connection with law enforcement agencies that offer crisis counseling in case professional mental health services are needed for community members if a crisis does occur.

Key Challenges and Solutions to Implementing a Bleeding Control Program

Implementing bleeding control kits and AEDs is a crucial step in creating an EAP for your church, but ensuring that staff and congregants are trained to respond to emergencies is where the challenge comes in. You may have all the right equipment, but if your church leaders and members are unsure of what to do, chaos can make any emergency situation worse. Leonard suggests conducting on-site or online training sessions.

By investing in training, churches can empower their community to respond effectively in crisis situations. Funding such initiatives can be another obstacle to overcome, but Leonard states, “Funding a program like this can be challenging, but we have seen great success with fundraisers that ask members of your church to donate towards a life-saving program like this.”

In the spirit of Stop the Bleed Month, churches must recognize the impact bleeding control kits can have in saving lives during unexpected emergencies. With training, AEDs, and bleeding control kits, churches can create safer environments for worship and community gatherings, ensuring they are well-prepared to respond to any unforeseen emergencies.

If you need assistance in creating an Emergency Action Plan or have questions about investing in life-saving tools for your church community, don’t hesitate to contact the Heartsmart team at 800-422-8129 or fill out their contact form.