Menendez, Boozman Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Communities Save Lives

February 28, 2020

Many deaths from injuries due to accidents, car crashes, shootings and other violent acts could be prevented with immediate access to bleeding control kits

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) today introduced the Prevent Blood Loss with Emergency Equipment Devices (BLEEDing) Act that would expand access to life-saving bleeding control kits in schools, malls, houses of worship, libraries and other gathering places in communities across the country. 

“Think about the lives that can be saved in the wake of a terrible car crash, a bad accident on the job or at the skating rink, or God forbid, a mall or school shooting, if regular people had the know-how and quick access to the tools they need to stop severe bleeding before help arrives,” said Sen. Menendez. “With our commonsense bill, we can save lives by expanding access to bleeding control tool kits in our schools, churches, malls, concert venues and other gathering places – and empowering thousands of Americans with the training to use them.” 

“This is a simple, common sense effort to help empower Americans to administer life-saving aid in the immediate aftermath of an emergency,” Sen. Boozman said.  “Hundreds of thousands of Americans die every year as the result of traumatic blood loss. We have the knowledge and tools to reduce that number and save lives. By providing the access and training to use these life-saving kits, our bill will help make that possible.”

A person with severe injuries can bleed to death in as little as five minutes without intervention. According to a 2018 review article published in the New England Journal of Medicineevery year, more than 60,000 people in the United States die of hemorrhagic shock.

However, many of those deaths could be prevented with immediate action to stop blood loss. The Prevent BLEEDing Act amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make it easier for states to apply for funding for bleeding control kits and training through the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP).

“The reality is that unexpected tragedies ranging from car accidents to gun violence can cause traumatic blood loss. Bleeding can lead to death in just a matter of minutes, but these deaths can be preventable,” said Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL 20), who first introduced this legislation in the House of Representatives in May 2019. “That is why I introduced H.R.2550 with Dr. Brad Wenstrup, because expanding bleeding control kit training and access can save lives. I thank Senators Bob Menendez and John Boozman for joining us in this effort by championing this life-saving legislation in the Senate, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure passage of this critical bill.” 

The Menendez-Boozman bill is supported by several organizations including the American College of Surgeons, American College of Emergency Physicians, Society of Trauma Nurses, Trauma Center Association of America, National Association of Emergency Technicians, American Trauma Society, and Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma. 

“This legislation is crucial to support state efforts to bring Stop the Bleed training and equipment directly to all US citizens. Just like with CPR , a civilian familiar with basic bleeding control techniques is  equipped to save a life when minutes matter. This legislation helps educate and empower individuals to take life-saving action during a bleeding emergency and will help drive the goal of  eliminating preventable death from bleeding,” said Chair of American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, Eileen BulgerMD, FACS, Professor of Surgery, University of Washington and Chief of Trauma, Harborview Medical Center.  

“In a medical emergency, seconds can save lives. Actions taken by bystanders with little to no medical training can mean the difference between life and death, and knowing how to stop the bleed is as important as knowing CPR or how to help a choking victim. By enhancing access to first response training and materials, this legislation will empower those in our community to be the help until help arrives,” said President of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), William Jaquis, MD, FACEP.

“The Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) is excited to endorse the Prevent BLEEDing Act of 2020. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will help to address the need for access to bleeding control equipment in public spaces. The STN has been working with state legislatures across the country to enact these policies for schools and public buildings and one of the most common concerns we’ve heard has been finding funding for these tools in cash strapped state budgets. If enacted, this grant program will go a long way in helping to assuage those concerns and increase access. Equipping civilian ‘immediate responders’ with the tools and training to stop traumatic bleeding will help to improve outcomes in cases of accidents and mass casualty events and reduce preventable deaths from bleeding,” said Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) President, Sarah Mattocks, MSN, RN.

“TCAA strongly supports the Prevent BLEEDing Act. The organization’s advocacy efforts on behalf of its membership, which is comprised of trauma centers, includes support for legislation aimed at Stop the Bleed efforts at the state and federal level,” said Trauma Center Association of America (TCAA) President, Jennifer Ward.

“NAEMT supports this important legislation to provide funds to states and communities to help purchase bleeding control supplies including tourniquets, gauze, wound-packing materials, and hemostatic dressings, and provide training on the use of these supplies. This legislation will help improve the survivability of patients with life-threatening injuries by providing critical materials and training to help turn ordinary bystanders into first responders! We applaud and thank Senator Menendez, Senator Boozman, Representatives Hastings, Wenstrup, and Lee for introducing this critical bill,” – said National Association of Emergency Technicians (NAEMT) President, Matt Zavadsky.

The ATS is a 51-year-old organization with over 2300 members focused on preventing injuries, improving care and empowering survivors. All efforts to improve access to bleeding control kits and relevant training programs align with the mission of the ATS,” said American Trauma Society (ATS) President, Dr. Anna Newcomb, PhD, MSW, LCSW.

”Just like with CPR training, a civilian familiar with basic bleeding control techniques is better equipped to save a life. The effort to make this training and bleeding control kits available to the public through a Department of Homeland Security grant program will help to drive the goal of reducing or eliminating preventable death from bleeding,” said Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma President, A. Britton Christmas, MD, FACS.

Specifically, S. 3346, the Prevent BLEEDing Act of 2020:  

  • Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to allow states to apply for funding for antiblood loss purposes through the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP), including the purchase of supplies (tourniquets, gauze, wound-packing materials, hemostatic dressings, gloves, markers, or other appropriate materials) for use in medical emergencies and to provide training on the proper use of such supplies.
  • Allows states and localities to apply for funding to distribute materials to public and privately owned spaces, such as schools, libraries, shopping malls, and performance venues where anti-blood loss supplies are not used in the ordinary course of business.
  • Requires all locations receiving funding for bleeding control kits to place materials in locations where the equipment is immediately available for public use when needed, such as with a publicly displayed automated external defibrillator.
  • Authorizes a one time appropriation of $10 million to be distributed by formula at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security.