The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates (HoD) approved a resolution introduced by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and other medical societies to train more professional first responders (i.e., police and firefighters) and civilians as immediate responders in the essential techniques of bleeding control and to place bleeding control kits (containing tourniquets, pressure bandages, hemostatic dressings, and gloves) with first responders. The text of the resolution points out that “active shooter events have occurred in 40 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia,” resulting in hundreds of deaths and catastrophic injuries to survivors.

The AMA is calling on state medical and specialty societies to advocate for the training of both the lay public and professional responders in bleeding control techniques – with the end result of enlarging the pool of first responders who can render assistance to victims of mass shootings and other mass casualty events.

This new HoD policy puts forth the recommendations of the Hartford Consensus™, the ACS-convened Joint Committee to Create a National Policy to Enhance Survivability from Intentional Mass Casualty and Active Shooter Events. The Hartford Consensus’ core principle is that “no one should die from uncontrolled bleeding” – and it calls for providing law enforcement officers with the training and equipment needed to act before EMS personnel arrive, providing EMS professionals with quicker access to the wounded, and training civilian bystanders to act as immediate responders at the point of wounding if it is safe for them to act. This element from the Hartford Consensus is at the heart of the “Stop the Bleed” campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the National Security Council. https://www.dhs.gov/stopthebleed last year

The resolution was introduced on the heels of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June, and received overwhelming support from delegates.

“This new policy really moves this important initiative forward in terms of our development of a training program for the public, not just health care professionals, so that civilians can learn how to act as immediate responders and save lives,” said Lenworth M. Jacobs, Jr., MD, MPH, FACS, Chair of the Hartford Consensus and director of the Trauma Institute at Hartford (Conn.) Hospital. “We already know from a national public opinion poll published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons that members of the public are willing to be trained—along with law enforcement and emergency medical responders—to accept this important responsibility.”