May is National Trauma Awareness Month. The focus this year is firearm safety. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), there were 588,696 registered firearms in Texas in 2017. Firearm injury, whether it is accidental or intentional, is the leading cause of penetrating trauma. It is the second leading cause of death in the United States, as stated by the American Trauma Society. Deaths from firearms nearly equal the number of traffic-related fatalities.

What can we do to minimize these firearm-related incidents?

  • Store all firearms in a secure place (preferably in a gun safe), unloaded and with a locking mechanism that prevents the weapon from being fired
  • Take a comprehensive firearm safety course
  • Keep firearms away from children
  • Teach children that firearms are not toys
  • Teach children to “run and tell” if they witness an unsafe act or unattended firearm
  • Ensure that all firearms are unloaded and the chamber is free of ammunition immediately after use and before cleaning
  • Immediately clean and secure firearms after use
  • Never point a firearm at someone and always keep it pointed in a safe direction
  • Always treat a firearm as if it’s loaded and keep your finger away from the trigger

Chris Manazir RN, CEN, CFRN, NRP
EMS Outreach/Community Injury Prevention Coordinator
St. David’s South Austin Medical Center