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Be prepared for the unthinkable

Reported by: Donna Kirker Morgan
Contributor: Lea Jolan (

No one ever expects to be caught in a mass injury situation such as the one that happened in the school in Murrysville, Pennsylvania.  But would you know what to do to help someone who is injured if the unthinkable happens?

CBS21 News talked to a Paramedic with Life Team Ambulance Services in Swatara Twp. who  is also an instructor at the Harrisburg Area Community College. John Senick says the first thing you have to do is make sure that call to 9-1-1 is actually made.  He says you should begin care of the victim but also specifically tell someone to make the call.

We know that 9-1-1  was called in the Murrysville School stabbing incident Wednesday but with 22 stabbing victims, everyday people had to help some of the victims as they waited for ambulances to arrive.

Senick says that's the time to look for something as clean as possible to apply pressure to a wound. He says there's endless things people have used to stop bleeding, including t-shirts, jeans, socks and paper towels.  We tested Senick, asking him to find things in the CBS21 News truck.  He pulled out a reflector vest, a CBS21 News coat, and paper towels.

Once you find something hold onto the wound and begin applying it. The person may complain but no pressure is too much.  Clotting is supposed to happened in 5 to 8 minutes, unless the wound is especially larger or other factors play a part in the injury. If a limb is involved, you may want to elevate it to decrease the blood flow to the  open wound.

If a victim is in shock, Senick says it's a good idea to elevate their feet six to ten inches from the ground. That can be done with a rolled up blanket or by raising the feet onto a chair seat.

Also, try to talk calmly and reassuringly to the person.

All of this must only be done if the dangerous situation has been cleared from the area.
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