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First Aid Procedure for High School Shootings

first aid for gunshot wounds

There is no way to know for sure what goes on in the head of a teenager at the best of times, let alone when they set their minds to adding themselves to the list of kids involved in school shootings and the mass murder of their school mates.

The pressures and emotions involved in taking lives are difficult to understand unless you have experienced them in your own right, but with more high school shootings hitting the headlines once again it’s time that serious questions were asked and procedures put in place to stop young lives being wasted in such an horrific manner in what must be preventable school shootings.

He Was a Loner…
When survivors at the high schools are asked did they know the individual involved in the school shootings there are familiar phrases that get repeated again and again. ‘He was a loner’ seems to be the most popular or ‘I never really knew him, he was so quiet no one ever noticed him’, and yet this student, predominantly male, managed to walk into school with a firearm and systematically pick off students, either selected in advance or just in the wrong place at the wrong time before either killing himself, being shot by a police officer or very rarely being taken into custody. So why aren’t the system, and their parents picking up on the deep rooted unhappiness or stress that these children are facing? And more importantly how are they getting at a range of firearms so easily?

Mental Health Issues
Any number of minor issues can be compounded so much that a person can snap. Sometimes it results in a breakdown, occasionally in a violent outburst, but in most cases there is a period of withdrawal beforehand. During this time behavior changes can’t help but be apparent, parents should be able to pick up on this change and should NOT be afraid of asking questions. Many parents put off asking their kids questions too afraid of what the answer might be, their heads filled with tales of drug abuse and substance misuse. But the right questions asked at the right time could get these kids into the treatment programs they need to deal with their stress and/or depression and ultimately save some lives by preventing school shootings?

The schools too should be responsible for notifying parents of behavioral changes and any issues that their children are facing at school, as kids do not always tell their parents the truth about what happens at school every day. Problems at home can be a major source of stress on children; substance abuse at home, domestic violence and sexual abuse all leave their marks on a child’s outward behavior, which is why school guidance counselors and mentors should be ever vigilant and learn how to prevent school shootings.

Gun Laws
The average age that a person can legally own a hand gun is 21, however in some cases rifles can be owned from the age of 18. So how is it that kids of 15, 16, and 17 are getting their hands on firearms and the ammunition to use with them? Parents that own guns need to take ultimate responsibility for them, keep them locked away in a secure gun cabinet, preferably key coded that the kids can’t access, ammunition too.  Security at home should be the best first step in limiting any further school shootings.

Emergency Procedures
All high schools should have a procedure in place for dealing with high school shootings. It is a terrible thing to have to need but staff and students need to know how to provide first aid for shootings. Knowledge of first aid for gunshot wounds is essential. Classes should be put in place for students so that they can be taught how to provide effective first aid for survivors as well as more specific first aid for shootings. Granted the ability to provide first aid won’t prevent the shooting, but it might help to save some lives.

Other than knowledge of shooting first aid, the schools should step up their security, be vigilant at all times and have a consistent and easy to follow emergency response system in place. Local police departments and emergency services have a wealth of knowledge and experience they can bring to the development of an emergency procedure and they should be brought into the school to help develop the schools own plan, for which drills and training exercises should be routinely done just as with a fire drill, preparation is everything.

How to Treat a Gunshot Wound
There are some basic first aid tips that everyone should know, not just about gunshot wounds but for bleeding wounds in general. Some general advice is given here.

  • Stay Safe. NEVER attempt to treat or help anyone until the gunman has been neutralized.
  • Call for help and medical assistance.
  • Don’t try and move the victim, you may inflict further injury.
  • Move with haste, speed is of the essence when preventing blood loss.
  • Follow your basic first aid training: Airway, Breathing and Circulation.
  • If the victim is conscious check they can move fingers and toes.
  • Look for obvious signs of other major injuries: i.e. fractures.
  • Bullets that go in, sometimes come out, bleeding from an exit wound will also need attending to, make sure all bleeding is under control as much as possible.
  • Prepare for your patient to go into shock. Keep them as warm as possible.
  • Tell the paramedics or doctor everything you have done for the victim.
  • Be prepared, not all gunshot victims recover from their injuries.


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