By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – As mass shootings continue to rise and each event becomes a stark reminder of how vulnerable we can be in our own community, local organizations are stepping up to prepare residents for what could become reality in our own neighborhoods.
During the month of April, two programs were initiated to help prepare for an event in which large groups of individuals might become a target.
Stop the Bleed
The Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department, in connection with the national Stop the Bleed program, recently launched an initiative that would prepare schools to address treatment in the event of a mass shooting.
Marshfield Fire Chief Scott Owen said that he was approached about doing something in the wake of the Parkland, FL school shooting in February.
“A couple of our firefighters were watching the events unfold and they said, ‘We have to do something. We’ve had enough. We have to be proactive on this,’ and with that it really kind of started the ball in motion,” Owen said.
Owen is conducting a fundraiser to place “Stop the Bleed” kits in every Marshfield district school. The kits would include gauze, a set of gloves, and a tourniquet, to address victims of gunshot wounds.
“The goal is to get these kits into every school we can, and not just one or two kits, probably 10, 20, 30 kits depending on the school, and then to follow that up with training of not only teachers and staff, but students,” Owen explained. “We want to make sure that as many people are trained as possible. We are going to hold training events (at the fire station.) We don’t have anything on the docket yet, but it is coming.”
Owen said that pre-made kits cost $55 each and do not expire. He hopes to raise enough money to purchase 300 of the pre-made kits for the area public and private schools.
If someone is shot, Owen says that they have a 66 percent chance of bleeding to death. With an average of a three to eight minute response time by emergency services, training could prevent numerous deaths in a situation where there are multiple victims.
“If students, faculty, and staff have this training and something were to happen, they could do the initial stopping of the bleeding until we get there,” Owen explained.
The department has initiated a public fundraising campaign and plan to have kits available in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year.
“We hope we never need to use them; we truly do,” Owen added. “I’ve heard people say, ‘Well, we live in Marshfield, it is never going to happen here. Well, the Antigo prom shooting a couple of years ago, they never thought it was going to happen there. The shooting last year in Rothschild, where the detective and a couple of other civilians were killed, they didn’t think it was going to happen. It only takes one person having a really bad day, to do something.”
To donate to the Stop the Bleed program, contact the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department. For more information on the national program, visit stopthebleedingcoalition.org.
Active shooter training
On April 24, the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce& Industry (MACCI) held an active shooter training session at the MACCI office.
The tabletop session was conducted by members of the Marshfield Police Department in accordance with CRASE – Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events.
Representatives from local churches, businesses, and factories attended and learned how to prepare for such an event by scripting – mentally preparing by knowing where exits are and playing possible situations through in your head – and practicing the responses to situations.
Marshfield officers stressed an avoid-deny-defend tactic for dealing with such a situation – avoid by trying to remove yourself from the situation, deny access to your location, and defend as a last resort by guarding yourself against life-threatening action.
“In trying to profile shooters, we haven’t been able to come up with the greatest profile,” said Marshfield Police Lieutenant Travis Esser. “There is really not a profile that they all fit into. They definitely have an avenger mind-set and they are upset – a lot of them are motivated by being upset about something or someone that did something to them – and they are going to take it out on not only that person, but they are willing to usually die that day and take out as many people as they can.
“Some of them talk about doing it, some of them don’t.”
Esser said that in 55 percent of the mass shooting cases, the victims had a connection to the shooter, and the remaining 45 percent with no connection.
Esser added that the shooter is looking for a target-rich environment and while schools incidents are often focused on due to their sensitivity, they are a portion of the overall picture.
“We have a tendency to focus on school shootings, when they are actually in the schools 25 percent of the time,” he stated.
“If their goal is to up the number from the previous shooter that they’ve admired… then they are going to look for a place where they can do the most amount of damage in the least amount of time.”