Cape Cod Officials Launch Shark Bite First Aid Initiative

Due to the increased amount of shark attacks off the coast of Massachusetts, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and the town of Orleans are teaming up to provide the community with life-saving skills.

The "Stop the Bleed" program will begin Oct. 18 and taught for free by Orleans Fire Rescue officials.

The program was initiated by a federal inter-agency workgroup to help people in life-threatening emergencies by teaching them the basic techniques of bleeding control.

On Sept. 15, 26-year-old Revere resident Arthur Medici died after being attacked by a shark while boogie boarding at Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet. He was the state's first fatality from a shark attack in more than 80 years.

A month earlier, William Lytton, 61, of New York, suffered deep puncture wounds to his torso and leg after being attacked by another shark in the waters off of Truro.

"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."

There were 53 unprovoked shark attacks in the U.S. in 2017, but none were fatal, according to the International Shark Attack File. On average, there are only six deaths around the world each year from unprovoked shark attacks.

Authorities say the majority of 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. 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," said Cynthia Wigren, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Chief Executive Officer.

To register for the "Stop the Bleed" program, visit the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

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