NJ Homeland Security Equipping 6,400-Plus Houses of Worship with Bleeding Control Kits

In an effort to improve active shooter incident survival at the state’s more than 6,400 houses of worship, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness launched its “Bleeding Control Kits” initiative March 8.

NJOHSP will provide approximately 7,100 kits to thousands of New Jersey houses of worship to help prevent deaths among victims with traumatic injuries received during an active shooter or hostile event incident, prior to the arrival of first responders.

Mass gathering locations remain an attractive target for domestic extremists and houses of worship are especially vulnerable due to easy access and limited security and protective measures. NJOHSP’s initiative, funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is based on the national “Stop the Bleed” awareness campaign.

Recent statistics also highlight the need for building statewide resilience among houses of worship. From 2018 to 2022, domestic extremists and homegrown violent extremists carried out 16 attacks on soft targets nationwide, resulting in 60 deaths and 66 injuries.

“Our hope is that no one ever has to use these kits,” said NJOHSP Director Laurie Doran. “A victim, depending on the wound’s location and severity, may have five to eight minutes to slow blood loss. While many religious organizations have become more vigilant with mitigating risks and threat levels, the quick action of bystanders can drastically improve the survivability of the wounded as they wait for first responder’s arrival. Equipping houses of worship and parishioners with vital training and lifesaving kits will better prepare them for an incident.”

The kits contain basic items used to stop extreme hemorrhages and pneumothorax injuries and include:

  • A combat application tourniquet
  • A 4-inch emergency pressure bandage
  • Compressed crinkle gauze
  • 2 chest seals
  • Medical gloves
  • Trauma sheers

Leveraging its partnerships with the state’s 21 counties and the agency’s approximately 5,000-member Interfaith Advisory Council, NJOHSP will close out the first phase of its large-scale kit distribution within one year.

“Our Interfaith Advisory Council Executive Committee, made up of representatives from across the State’s major faith-based groups, has played a pivotal part in the rollout of this program, in both in facilitating connections and identifying need-based priorities,” said NJOHSP Deputy Director Dan Engelhardt. “This program has been realized through the support and collaboration of many individuals and public- and private-sector partners who share a similar interest in enhancing preparedness efforts for New Jersey’s worshippers.”

In addition to FEMA, NJOHSP also secured the assistance of Rutgers University, the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson, the New Jersey Emergency Medical Service Task Force and the Urban Area Security Initiative Executive Committee to implement the “Bleeding Control Kits” program.

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