I am writing this column a few days after the terrible bombing at a concert in Manchester, England, and the murders on and near London Bridge. The world is a different place these days. Of course, statistically speaking, few of us are likely to be exposed to terrorism. But sadly, that’s what the victims and their grieving families in the UK believed.
Similar things happen all too often in the United States and across the world as extremists vent their ideology and hatred and leave large numbers of innocent citizens dead and maimed. Sadly, this isn’t new.
But I’m writing today to encourage readers to learn some new skills and be part of an army of compassionate men and women able to help others if terror should strike where you are.
In a past column I encouraged everyone to learn CPR. It’s easily taught and should be offered by every church at some point in the year. But now, in a world of terrorism and with churches sending missionaries around the country and around the world, it’s time to learn how to manage bleeding.
The details and specifics of managing gunshot wounds and bomb-blast injuries are far beyond the time and space I have here. However, it isn’t that hard to learn to apply pressure to a bleeding wound and how to put a tourniquet on an injured, bleeding extremity.
It’s such an important skill that the Department of Homeland Security now has a campaign called “Stop the Bleed,” which I have linked below. Their goal is that vast numbers of civilians learn enough basic first aid to keep injured victims alive until EMS arrives. This matters not only in instances of terrorism, but also in the care of victims of car crashes, industrial accidents, violent crime and assorted other traumas where blood loss is a grave threat to life.
Here is a link to the DHS program, which contains additional links to educational videos and what appear to be upcoming courses: www.dhs.gov/stb-learn-how-stop-bleed.
I would encourage the reader also to speak to his or her local Red Cross chapter for a first aid class, or to local EMS units for information on first responder courses. Some may desire to go on and become emergency medical technicians or paramedics. Some may be inspired to nursing or medical school. Wonderful! But it doesn’t take that much time to learn to save a life with simple devices and techniques.
Believers are called to go and make disciples. But I think that a great way to show the love of Christ is to be prepared to get our hands dirty saving lives from violence. Go forth and “Stop the Bleed!”