LOS ANGELES — In the event of a mass shooting, leaders in San Diego County want its thousands of employees to know how to save victims from bleeding to death.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday for staff to form a plan to put bleeding-control kits in county facilities and teach employees how to use them. It’s part of a nationwide campaign called Stop the Bleed, which began in 2012 in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre that killed 20 first-graders and six educators in Connecticut.

Since then, more than 150,000 people have been trained on how to tie a tourniquet, plug a bullet wound and other measures to prevent victims of trauma from bleeding out, said Dr. Mark Gestring, a trauma surgeon at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York who has been spearheading the training nationwide.

“Uncontrollable bleeding is the most preventable cause of death after injury,” Gestring said Wednesday. “If someone is there to stick a finger or put some pressure or stick a tourniquet on a wound, someone will survive.”

The Board of Supervisors also declared support for an awareness program on use of tourniquets and a “National Stop the Bleed Day” on Saturday. More than 600 training classes are taking place nationwide.

The training has been happening at schools, universities, and hospitals nationwide, and even at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, said Dr. James Vosswinkel, chief of trauma and emergency surgery at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York.

“It’s spreading like wildfire,” Vosswinkel said. “There’s a tremendous need.”

Not only is the knowledge helpful in a mass shooting, but it can save the lives of people involved in car accidents, assaults and other traumatic events, he said.

Vosswinkel likened the training to knowing how to perform CPR or the Heimlich maneuver.

“When you hit a major artery it doesn’t take long at all,” he said. “Once you lose 40 percent of your blood volume you start going into shock. It’s not a lot of blood to lose and it can go out very quickly.”

San Diego County’s action requires staff to report within four months on plans for the kits and support for legislation that would put kits in all public buildings in California.

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AMANDA LEE MYERS
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