ORLEANS, Mass. — Emma Doyle has been surfing the outer cape for 12 years. But this year she has a new piece of gear.
"A bunch of us have picked up a few," she said. "I know some people are putting them in the chest pocket of their wetsuits. I mean this was on our Christmas list."
It's a tourniquet. And she completed one of the classes cape towns are now offering to help train the general public how to use it for potential shark bites.
"I think the first couple of moments in any kind of medical emergency are very important, especially with a lot of people on the road. There might be traffic," she said.
One man was seriously hurt in Truro last August by a shark. A month later, in Wellfleet, a man died after a shark attack.
"If you hit an artery, you have you have 5-10 minutes for someone to bleed out," lifeguard supervisor Gordon Miller explained.
Emergency responders are urging surfers to take the 'Stop the Bleed' classes because in many cases they could be right there -- in the water -- while first responders are still on the way to the scene.
"If you can get in there and do some treatments, hand to the wound or tourniquets, you can possibly save this person because they have minutes," Miller said.
Some of the Stop the Bleed classes have waiting lists. In Orleans, they have been doing them every month and they have already trained 200 people.
The Orleans Deputy Fire Chief says they are seeing more surfers take the course.
Longtime Cape Cod surfer Phil Clark runs the Nauset Surf Shop in Orleans and he believes first aid trained surfers will make a difference. He's stocking first aid kids and plans to take the course himself.
"Some of my friends have switched over to leases that go around your ankle that can act as a tourniquet," Clark told Boston 25 News. "I'm part of the community and I want to make sure we are all prepared."
Cox Media Group