No one plans for an emergency.
A car crash, a tornado, an active shooter, or any accident can change lives in a split second.
No one plans to be a victim. No one plans to witness tragedy.
However, simple knowledge and immediate action of a bystander can mean life or death for a victim. Bystanders, with little or no medical training, can become lifesavers.
Today, the Administration launched the "Stop the Bleed" campaign to provide people with the tools and knowledge to stop life threatening bleeding in the event of an emergency situation. Working with the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and the medical community, the "Stop the Bleed" campaign will put knowledge gained by first responders and our military, into the hands of the public to help save lives.
So, why is bleeding the trauma you need to pay attention to in an emergency? Severe bleeding can lead to death in five minutes or less. A victim can bleed to death much faster than trained public safety personnel can arrive. The person standing or sitting next to that individual may be the ONLY one who can make the difference between life and death.
The “Stop the Bleed” campaign is the culmination of work convened by the National Security Council at the White House with partners committed to build awareness, harness technology, and empower Americans from all walks of life to respond when they are needed most.
As President Obama said in the aftermath of a tornado that leveled much of Joplin, Missouri:
Just as we can’t know why tragedy strikes in the first place, we may never fully understand where these men and women find the courage and strength to do what they did. What we do know is that in a split-second moment where there’s little time for internal reflection or debate, the actions of these individuals were driven by love -- love for a family member, love for a friend, or just love for a fellow human being.
Please take a moment to get the information and have the tools to help save lives in the precious moments immediately after an emergency.
While the government can and does have a role in fortifying our Nation’s readiness, response happens every day on the individual level. Everyone can protect our nation from harm; anyone can protect their neighbor from harm; and anyone can protect their loved one from harm.
Don’t be a bystander. Get informed and be a hero and stop the bleed.
Amy Pope is Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.