Stopthe Bleed web

Equipping the Community to Respond to an Active Shooter

Aug 22, 2022 | Beth Hess

In 2018, with mass shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Pittsburgh among those in the news, the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of SW Vermont was looking for opportunities to help their community prepare and cope in the event of such an occurrence locally. Unit Leader Diana “Dee” Myrvang learned of a program led by a police chief in northern Vermont that trained local schools and businesses to feel like there was something they can do when they feel helpless in the face of such tragedies.

Myrvang liked this trauma informed training for individuals because, unlike CDC and FEMA resources, it was local and unique to Vermont.

“The Chief is very realistic, telling people what things are like and helping them feel empowered,” said Myrvang. “He addresses a scary, difficult topic in a respectful way.”

This dynamic training was well received in the community. It emphasized the need for businesses and organizations to have trauma kits readily accessible in their space and focused on instilling three key actions for individuals:

  1. See something, say something.
  2. Run, hide, fight. (Which includes retraining your brain in how to respond)
  3. STOP THE BLEED

“The true value is STOP THE BLEED,” said Myrvang. “You have 90 seconds; any individual can make a difference.”

The unit worked with the police chief to deliver and record a training that was just under two hours. It used a $2,500 Operational Readiness Award to buy supplies for 50 trauma bags and STOP THE BLEED posters. The unit worked with their local trauma squad to identify and order high-quality materials for the kit.

Further plans for the training and resources were put on hold during COVID response, but the unit has again taken up the mission. Recently, Myrvang worked with the local cable station to condense the recorded training down to 35 minutes.

The concept is that businesses, schools, and other organizations in the county can request the video. See a sample outreach flyer. The unit provides a link to the online video and a flyer to help advertise it. Once an organization has completed the online training, they can request a free trauma kit which includes a CAT-tourniquet, STOP THE BLEED poster, gauze, gloves, Coban, H-dressing, and disinfectant wipes. Information on how to order additional trauma kits through a local agency is also provided.

“True intent is to get free trauma kits into the community and to equip people with tools they can use,” said Myrvang.

Resources to Help Your Community Prepare and Respond:


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