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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Stimpson from Lutheran Hospital Trauma Services shows how to cover and apply pressure to an open wound during Friday's active shooter training Friday at Bethel U M Church. (Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette)

  • A display that shows how to cover and apply pressure to an open wound during an Active Shooter Training event at Bethel United Methodist Church on Friday June 29, 2018.

  • Lisa Hollister, Director, Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at Parkview Trauma Centers, shows how to properly use a tourniquet during an Active Shooter Training event at Bethel United Methodist Church on Friday June 29, 2018.

  • Sarah Hoeppner demonstrates open wound care during Friday's training at Bethel United Methodist Church.

Saturday, June 30, 2018 1:00 am

Local media get training for shooting situations

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Mass shootings are a fact of life in America, and people should be prepared to react and offer help to victims.

That was the message Friday as officials from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and trauma workers from Lutheran and Parkview hospitals trained reporters for active shooter situations.

Participants learned to tie tourniquets and pack gauze into gunshot wounds in bleeding limbs. They were told to look quickly for ways to escape buildings and offices. Books, candleholders and other everyday items can be repurposed into weapons to fend off an attacker, trainers said.

The media-only event came a day after five people were gunned down inside the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.

“The reality is, this could happen anywhere,” Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said. “We all need to be equipped to prepare to respond. In 2018, there are things the citizens of Allen County need to be prepared for.”

The hourlong training session was announced Tuesday, but the shootings Thursday made it particularly relevant. Organizers said they are working to hold similar sessions for private organizations, at fire stations and in schools.

Friday's was at Bethel United Methodist Church on Lima Road.

Church trustee Bob Shugert said he recently organized a group to discuss building security. In the past, he said, the congregation might never have considered the threat of a mass shooting.

Times have changed.

“Ten years or 20 years ago, you would have never said this would happen,” Shugert said. “But you have to be prepared.”

A news release from the health department urges families to be prepared as the number of active shooter incidents continue to rise. Preparation includes having an escape plan, hiding and attempting to fight the shooter, if possible.

“If it hasn't happened in your state or your area, it will,” said Don Watson, EMS district manager for the state Department of Homeland Security.

Lisa Hollister, director of trauma and acute care surgery at Parkview, said people should consider buying medical supplies, including tourniquets and gauze. Hollister said she took tourniquets for herself and her daughters to a music festival last year.

Bryan Mathieson, executive director of trauma and acute care surgery at Lutheran, used a syringe to supply fake blood to a plastic leg used to teach methods for stopping bleeding.

“I think this is the new state of our nation, like it or not,” he said. “It's not if it happens, it's when.” 

mleblanc@jg.net