Local trauma doctors teaching community how to prepare for a mass casualty incident

SEATTLE — Local trauma doctors are working to teach the community what to do to save lives in a mass shooting or accident. Harborview Medical Center is offering "Stop the Bleed" classes for free. The classes teach community members how to use tourniquets, apply pressure and pack a wound.

A Harborview spokesperson says interest in the classes grows when there is a shooting like the one in Thousand Oaks, California, last night. Twelve people were killed at a country bar on college night.

The Seattle Fire Department has a trauma bag in every engine, ladder truck and aid unit. Every trauma bag has five trauma kits with supplies to stop the bleeding, enough to treat five people. While first responders are trained to use the kits, in a mass casualty incident, bystanders who volunteer could be asked to help.

Knowing how to help could improve the chances of saving lives. Seattle Fire also has trauma kits stocked in the aid rooms at Husky Stadium, CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field.

Olive Wessel, 17, is a junior at a Seattle high school. She took the class at Harborview Medical Center before working at a summer camp.

"It's not super hard. You just need a little bit of training and you could save a life," said Wessel.

Her mom took the class, too. "I wanted to be as well prepared to help out the kids as I could," said Julie Wessel.

As she finishes high school and gets ready for college, Olive Wessel wants to be prepared. "I definitely have kind of accepted in my head it's possible something terrible could happen at my school," said Wessel. "I'm not in denial of that. I guess it feels good (knowing) if one of my friends got hurt or anything, I could help them."

More information about "Stop the Bleed" classes is available here. The link to register is here.

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