Program aims to help bystanders become first reponders for Philly gunshot victims

    Volunteers at Temple University Hospital are teaching first aid skills to residents who want to be ready when violence happens in the neighborhood.

    “The community around Temple basically asked: ‘What do we do, when our youth, our children and our grandchildren are shot and we are standing here, what should we do?'” said Tim Bryan, assistant director of emergency medical services.

    Wayne Jacobs who leads the group–X-Offenders for Community Empowerment—got the idea to ask Temple for help after hearing about a shooting not far from ‘the Badlands” an area know for an open-air drug markets in North Philadelphia.

    “A young guy got killed in the playground, and there were something like 200 people in that playground when the shots was fired,” Jacobs said.

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    By the time a local news crew arrived, most everyone had fled the scene.

    “And that really bothered me because I said to myself, ‘Hey, if someone would have stood around they might, could have saved this boy’s life,” Jacobs said.

    He says training should be open to everyone who wants it—including ex-offenders in halfway houses. “These are the guys who—nine times out of 10—will be on the scene when there’s a shoots are they’re the ones getting shot.”

    “We are not going to be eyes and ears for the police officers; we’re just going to be there as crowd control and as first aid assistance,” he said.

    The first-aid program is called “Fighting Chance.” Tim Bryan designed the curriculum based his experience as a combat medic.

    The first rule of first aid, is personal safety. The hospital isn’t encouraging anyone to endanger their own life, Byran said, but if a neighbor wants to help out, he or she should have training.

    “The studies find that it is the very simple things that make largest amount of differences, stopping the bleeding with direct pressure, elevation, we teach pressure points that are key to stopping extremity bleeding, and then eventually this will move forward—hopefully–where there are trauma kits in the field,” Bryan said.

    Those kits would include protective gloves for bystanders who decide to help out.

    The program does not have any formal funding, Bryan says, but Temple’s outreach team hopes to contact local merchants to place first aid kits in strategic, high-crime locations.

    For more information on “Fighting Chance,” residents can call 215-707-8398

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