It's been about a year since Santa Maria resident Scott Hunter retired after 30 years in firefighting and started offering free classes to Central Coast residents on ways to block massive bleeding injuries during violent incidents.
The classes are part of a national awareness campaign called Stop the Bleed, which Hunter said was first launched by a coalition of first responders in 2013. In the same way that everyday citizens can learn CPR, Stop the Bleed trains people to stop major bleeding as bystanders during emergencies.
While the campaign was initially a direct response to the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Hunter said it started to take off in 2017, when it became clear that incidents of mass violence were becoming increasingly common.
Hunter, who is also a trained EMT and part-time faculty member in public safety at Allan Hancock College, instantly loved the idea.
He has a saying: "It's not a matter of if, it's simply a matter of when."
"The when happened," Hunter told the Sun.
At about midnight on May 5, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office received reports of a shooting at the Oceano Dunes. State Parks responded, according to a SLO County press release, and multiple victims were treated for gunshot wounds, including six who were rushed to local hospitals for further treatment.
SLO County Sheriff's Office detectives were dispatched to assist, and after taking the lead on the investigation, later arrested suspect Francisco Orozco, a 19-year-old Oakland resident, on attempted murder charges in connection with the shooting.
No further information was available as of press time, according to the SLO Sheriff's Office, and the investigation is ongoing.
Hunter plans to help residents and park goers take safety measures into their own hands. He hopes residents will start to realize that emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and that it's best to know how to save a life in that situation.
"For us living on the Central Coast, it hit close to home," Hunter said, "and for some people, for the people the Oceano, it happened in their backyard."
The Stop the Bleed classes are completely free of charge and typically run for about an hour and a half. Hunter said one Stop the Bleed report found that 32 percent of those killed in the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, died of massive bleeding wounds that could have been repaired and treated had the victims not bled out. A person can bleed out in four to five minutes, Hunter said, and that can be prevented by bystanders waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
While Hunter's most recent Stop the Bleed training was scheduled for May 8 in Cayucos, he said he hopes to host more in the wake of the Oceano shooting. The plan is to do two each month—one in northern Santa Barbara County and another in SLO County.
"This is a very important training, especially in the world we live in," Hunter said. "I feel it's something everyone should take. It's basically turning citizens into first responders." Δ