The AP reports that victims of the Aurora Theater Murders waited somewhere around 30 minutes before emergency medical crews arrived to assist them. Police at the scene thought things desperate enough that they transported several victims to the hospital in their cruisers without waiting for ambulances. I applaud this quick decision making. Thirty minutes is not a lot of time for police to arrive on scene, figure out what is going on, neutralize the threat, secure the scene, then allowing EMTs to triage the wounded and load them up for delivery to the nearest hospital. But if you’re one of the victims . . .
Thirty minutes is an eternity when you’re bleeding badly. Three to five minutes is all you have with a major arterial or venous injury. Assuming you lived through a shooting, how would you give yourself self (or others) care until the EMTs arrive?
I believe victims in a mass shooting should treat, evacuate, and transport themselves as quickly as possible to the nearest trauma center. This may or may not be realistic given the injuries and distances involved. In the case of Aurora, the hospital was only about a mile away. Anyone can cover that distance walking in under 30 minutes.
Many an injured gangbanger has been pushed out of a car at the door of the hospital to receive excellent and timely care. Time is of the essence, and depending on your location, calling EMS simply wastes time better used for self transport. Of course, this works best in big cities. In rural situations, EMS has access to helicopters which significantly reduce transport time.
Obviously, if you are badly injured you may have no choice in the matter. As Robert found out in his Simunition training, many firearms injuries occur to extremities. Prompt bleeding control with a tourniquet can save lives in these instances and is relatively simple to perform with a bit of practice.
It behooves anyone – and shooters in particular – to have some training in this area. At the very least read a book or two on the subject. Put some thought into where your local trauma centers are located and come up with a strategy for the best way to get there in the even of a life-threatening injury. The life you save could be your own.