• 'Stop the Bleed': Cape Cod town offering first aid training for shark attacks

    By: Zareen Syed


    ORLEANS, Mass. - One more Cape Cod town is taking the initiative towards better beach safety regulations.

    Recently in Wellfleet, hundreds gathered to demand better safety and proper protocols at Cape Cod beaches. And today, the town of Orleans is making their own moves.

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    The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) just announced a partnership with the Orleans Fire Rescue and Natural Resource Department to provide the local community with a training course to combat shark bites.

    The "Stop the Bleed" program aims to teach people the basic techniques of bleeding control in the event of a shark bite. The fire rescue team of Orleans hopes the training will also empower the general public to make a difference in a life-threatening emergency. 

    The initiative is in response to two white shark encounters that occurred off the outer Cape this season, one resulting in a fatality

    "First response plays a critical role in saving lives," said Orleans Fire Chief, Tony Pike. "The quick response of two nurses and other willing bystanders who sprang into action on the beach helped save the life of William Lytton after he was bitten by a white shark off Truro." 

    According to the AWSC, even though shark bites are rare, the international shark attack files show that majority of shark attacks happen to surfers, windsurfers and boogie boarders.

    "We know from local research that the number of white sharks off our coast is high in September and October, during a time when surfers are still out on the water," said Cynthia Wigren, CEO of Atlantic White Shark Conservatory. "With no lifeguards or EMTs on the beaches this time of year, a surfer will be dependent on the response of the person nearest to him or her in the event of a shark bite."

    In fact, most white shark bite victims survive because of first aid initiated by a bystander. Nate Sears, Orleans Natural Resource Manager, urges the public to attend the trainings for that very reason.

    "If you are a member of the beach community, please take advantage of this opportunity for the free training. You could save a life,” he said.

    There will be three "Stop the Bleed" training sessions on October 18, November 1 and November 8 from 7pm - 8pm.

    They are all free and open to the public. Wellfleet is also offering training on October 19, with their own schedule to follow soon. 

    For more information and to register, visit the AWSC website.

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