According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been over 300 mass shootings in 2018. People can argue about the politics of gun violence all day. While we differ in the best ways to curb gun violence, there are methods for anyone to save a gunshot victim’s life.

Anyone can be a first responder

The first priority of law enforcement officers following a mass shooting is to identify the suspect. After the threat has been secured, the primary focus transfers to the victims. There are many people who could play a role in saving a gunshot victim’s life, including witnesses to the event.

Otterbein University

Following the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the American College of Surgeons took action. To increase a victim’s chance of survival, the Joint Committee to Create a National Policy to Enhance Survivability from Intentional Mass Casualty and Active Shooter Events was formed.

How an average person can help

According to Jeffrey Kerby, a surgeon from the University of Alabama at Birmingham says, “Someone can bleed to death in five to eight minutes.” He says bystanders need to intervene in order to save anyone who has been injured. There are a few things an average citizen can do to save a life.

The first thing anyone can do when at the scene of a shooting is secure their own safety. Next, it is vital to locate the source of any blood. It might be necessary to open or remove clothing to locate the wound. If blood is creating a pool around the victim, using pressure to stop the bleeding is required. This can be done by covering the wound with a cloth or scarf and pressing down hard with both bands. Some wounds may require a tourniquet to be right around the arm or leg just above the gunshot wound.

Life over limb

Some people claim that a person with a tourniquet could require amputation.

Kerby says that is simply a myth. “You’re not hurting the patient, you’re saving their life. Life over limb.”