Shark Bite First Aid

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) is pleased to announce a partnership with the Town of Orleans Fire Rescue and Natural Resource Department to provide local surfers and the wider community with 'Stop the Bleed' training that will teach people lifesaving skills. The training sessions, which will be free and open to the general public, will be led by Orleans Fire Rescue beginning on October 18.

The 'Stop the Bleed' program was initiated by a federal interagency workgroup to empower the general public to make a difference in a life-threatening emergency by teaching them the basic techniques of bleeding control. Orleans Fire Rescue, Orleans Natural Resource Department and AWSC are implementing this proactive public training program in response to the 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. 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," explained Tony Pike, Orleans Fire Chief.

"Even though shark bites are rare, the international shark attack files note that the majority happen to surface recreationalists, which includes surfers, windsurfers, and boogie boarders," said Cynthia Wigren, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Chief Executive Officer. "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. With no lifeguards or EMTs on the beaches this time of year, a surfer will be dependent on the response of the person(s) nearest to him/her in the event of a shark bite."

Nate Sears, Orleans Natural Resource Manager said, "Most white shark bite victims survive because of first aid initiated from bystanders. If you are a member of the beach community, please take advantage of this opportunity for the free training. You could save a life.”

Local surfer and owner of Vec Surfboards in Orleans shared, "In addition to continuing to explore preventative measures, it's important that surfers are trained to respond to a shark bite. I've completed the training and encourage everyone to go through it as well."

Training sessions are free and open to the public. Courses will be led by Orleans Fire Rescue and offered on October 18, November 1 and November 8 from 7 pm - 8 pm at Atlantic White Shark Conservancy's Shark Center in Chatham. Offering 'Stop the Bleed' training across the lower Cape is an initiative of the regional shark working group. The Town of Wellfleet is offering training on October 19th, with additional town schedules to follow. To register visit: