Sheriff: Prepare for active shooters and trauma with your own response kit

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson shows off the items included in one of the 56 trauma kits his department assembled.
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GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) (1/15/2020) - Because active shooters or traumatic events can happen to anyone and anywhere, people should be equipped to respond in the aftermath of an incident.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson urged everyone to assemble a trauma pack with gauze, burn blankets and tourniquets to help anyone injured before emergency responders arrive.

“You should have a trauma kit at your house, at your office, in your car,” he said.

To set an example, the sheriff's office has assembled 56 trauma kits to place in each of its patrol cars, detective vehicles and command staff vehicles.

Swanson pointed out 400 active shooters are reported each year around the country. The big incidents get lots of attention, but the country has become desensitized to smaller incidents.

Authorities in Mid-Michigan already train students on what to do if an active shooter comes to their school. But Swanson pointed out anyone can become a victim at the mall, at a movie theater, at a grocery store or anywhere there is a large congregation of people.

He recently visited Las Vegas and toured the area where the Mandalay Bay mass shooting took place in October 2017. Emergency crews and average citizens all stepped up to help the injured.

However, most of them lacked proper medical supplies.

“They did a great job, but still 58 people lost their lives and hundreds of others were injured,” Swanson said.

He discussed the importance of tourniquets in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic incident.

“Tourniquets save lives," Swanson said. "The tourniquet is to stop major arterial bleeding and that major arterial bleeding is what people end up losing their lives from, because they haven’t stopped the bleeding.”

He recommends including plenty of gauze, burn blankets and tourniquets in a trauma kit. It can be placed in a backpack or sturdy bag for safekeeping in a vehicle or at home.

Anyone who wants advice for what to include in their kit can call the sheriff's office and speak with a paramedic deputy, Swanson said.