As a precaution, New Jersey officials are handing out thousands of bleeding control kits to houses of worship

They encourage all worshipers to understand how to stop the bleeding if someone is shot or stabbed.

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One person applying a tourniquet to another's arm

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2016 file photo two people practice applying a tourniquet to one another during a first aid training session. Bleeding Control kits contain essential first aid items. (AP Photo/Michael Balsamo,File)

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The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness has started distributing bleeding control kits to more than 6,000 houses of worship across the Garden State.

Charles Ambio, the NJOHSP preparedness division director, said no credible threat has been received, and there has not been a large-scale shooting incident at a religious facility in Jersey so far. Still, active shooter events are on the rise, and he said it’s essential to be proactive, not reactive.

“Listen, we hope that no one ever has to use these kits, but the reality is that while our law enforcement partners are diligently working to disrupt potential attacks, there’s always a chance that one may occur,” he said.

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Ambio said each kit includes basic life-saving items, including “a combat application tourniquet, a 4-inch emergency pressure bandage, compressed crinkle gauze, chest seals, medical gloves, and trauma sheers.”

He added that as the kits are distributed, plans are being developed to ensure people know how to use the items they’re getting.

“We’re coordinating with partners across the state, from law enforcement to medical professionals,” he said. “We’re working with hospitals like Saint Joe’s and University Hospital as well as EMS workers, hospital employees to help deliver this training to individuals.”

He stressed the idea is to encourage all worshipers to understand how to stop the bleeding if someone is shot or stabbed.

“While we recommend them take in-person training, we’re also having them take the stop the bleed training course available online so we can continue to increase that knowledge base across the state,” said Ambio.

Indy Samra, an executive committee member of the state’s Interfaith Advisory Council, is helping to make sure all houses of worship receive a bleeding control kit.

“It’s a first aid kit, it’s a first aid kit that, if there was more blood, it would allow you to go ahead and control that,” he said, “that’s the way to think about it, I think at the end of the day it’s a precaution.”

He said the council is reaching out to each house of worship “and asking them are you interested in this training, and so far the response has been very receptive.”

Samra pointed out “if EMS arrives they may be there within a couple of minutes, however they may not have permission to enter the building until it’s secured, which could be up to an hour.”

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Ambio noted between 2018 and 2022, domestic extremists and homegrown violent extremists carried out 16 attacks on soft targets nationwide, resulting in 60 deaths and 66 injuries.

“Houses of worship are considered soft targets, and they’re also a hub for regular mass gatherings,” he said, “this unfortunately can become a target for bad actors.”

A total of 7,000 kits will be given out to religious groups and organizations in Jersey.

A FEMA grant is covering the cost of the distribution program. Each bleeding control kit costs $56.

NJOHSP has previously worked with the Interfaith Advisory Council to help churches, synagogues, temples and mosques with security personnel and training, carry out security risk assessments and get target-hardening equipment.

Ambio said any house of worship can get information about receiving a bleeding control kit by contacting

“We want to remind everyone if they see something to say something,” he said, “by contacting us at 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ or emailing us”

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