WA counties to distribute hundreds of kits to stop emergency bleeding

Some of the kits will go to schools. Local governments are sending them out in an era when mass shootings happen frequently around the U.S.

By: - June 27, 2023 9:00 am

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Local governments in the Puget Sound region plan to distribute around 1,700 kits to control bleeding from people’s injuries to schools and other sites.

The kits, which include gauze, tourniquets and other medical supplies, are intended to give bystanders a way to slow a wounded person’s blood loss before first responders arrive to help. The supplies are from the American Colleges of Surgeons’ “Stop the Bleed” program and can be used in a variety of emergencies. 

However, the movement to distribute the kits began after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and comes as the nation has dealt repeatedly with other mass shootings over the past two decades. 

“Unfortunately, we have all been seeing an increase in the frequency of incidents across the country,” said Brendan McCluskey, King County’s emergency management director. 

Along with King County, Seattle, Bellevue, Snohomish County and Pierce County will distribute the kits, which were purchased using a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. 

Snohomish County will send its first six kits to schools, said Scott North, spokesperson for the county’s emergency management office. King County, Bellevue and Seattle will also distribute some of their kits to schools. 

Schools across the country have started adding “Stop the Bleed” kits to their first-aid equipment. California requires schools to provide bleeding control kits and Colorado passed a law in May allowing schools to opt-in to “Stop the Bleed” kits and training.

“We hope these kits are never needed, but if they are, we want them in places where they can be most useful in saving lives, much like AEDs in public places have improved the chances of survival for heart attack victims,” McCluskey said, referring to automated external defibrillator devices that aid people in cardiac arrest.

Every kit also comes with a guide on how to stop immediate bleeding. QR codes in the kits will take users to a “quick video training.” “Stop the Bleed” offers a database of in-person training classes across the country and an online interactive course. 

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Grace Deng
Grace Deng

Grace Deng joined the Washington State Standard shortly after graduating from Northwestern University in June 2023. Grace, who currently lives in Tacoma, is a local Washingtonian who was born and raised in Snohomish County. She has previous experience covering statehouse politics and policy for the Minnesota Reformer and the USA TODAY Ohio Network, which includes the Columbus Dispatch, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Akron-Beacon Journal.