White House Launches Initiative to Educate Bystanders on Bleeding Control

"Stop the Bleed" initiative includes new logo, website to turn bystanders into "bydoers"

"Stop the Bleed" initiative hopes to save lives by educating bystanders on techniques to help stop severe bleeding.

Stop, drop and roll. See something, say something. Push hard and fast. Click it or ticket.

Whether it’s learning what to do during a fire or how to perform hands-only CPR, people of all ages can understand these simple messages. Now, a group of federal, local and non-governmental partners are hoping to add "Stop the Bleed" to the list of catchy phrases known by children and adults across the country.

At a forum in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in October, federal officials launched the "Stop the Bleed" campaign, which hopes to train Americans to serve as "immediate responders" by recognizing and treating major bleeding in the first minutes after an injury, before first responders arrive.

Rick Hunt, MD, the emergency physician and former member of the White House National Security Council staff who led the interagency effort to create the initiative, said it was all about "saving lives and building resilience."

The campaign includes a new website and logo with a hand inside a red stop sign and the phrase "Stop the Bleed." The logo hopes to reinforce how simple it is for people to potentially help an injured person with severe bleeding using only their hands.

"Reducing death and disability from injuries, whether on our nation’s roads, in schools, at home, or anywhere, is all about attitude and behavior change," said Mark Rosekind, PhD, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during a panel discussion at the forum.

The objectives of the campaign, as outlined by Hunt during the event, are to:

  • make the general public aware of the Stop the Bleed slogan and logo,
  • educate the public on how to stop major bleeding and,
  • provide access to personal bleeding control kits (both for purchase and in public gathering places) that include just-in-time audio and visual training.

The campaign is the result of a months-long collaboration between several Federal agencies and non-governmental organizations.

"[This campaign gives] voice and action to the mission of our office to unleash our national resilience," said Nicole Lurie, MD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

As many of the speakers pointed out, the Stop the Bleed campaign is not only about taking simple actions to save lives prior to the arrival of emergency responders, but also about engaging the public to act and have an active role in the response to disasters of all sizes.

The White House forum also featured a panel of speakers from organizations that have already taken steps to educate and encourage the public to stop life-threatening bleeding before first responders arrive.

Lynda Adams, superintendent of the Connetquot Central School District in New York, described activities the district and community have underway to provide education to every security guard, coach, nurse and athletic trainer employed by the schools. They also sent information about bleeding control kits to parents in the school newsletter and produced a video with a local news channel.

Similarly, Charlotte Douglas International Airport has taken steps to place bleeding control kits with all AEDs. Airport Operations Manager Jimmy Mynatt said the AED locations now included the "Stop the Bleed" logo as well as basic instructions and pictures on a card for just-in-time training.

The forum ended with Craig Fugate, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former paramedic, calling on everyone to educate and empower the public to act.

"We teach people CPR," he said, but noted that often, professional rescuers and medical personnel discourage the public from intervening. "We need to go back and give the public permission. We need to empower the public again."