May 6, 2019

May is National Trauma Awareness Month. This year's focus is firearm injury prevention.

The CAMC Trauma Center joins the American Trauma Society in providing some tips to help you avoid death and injuries around your home.

11 commandments of gun safety:

  1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. It might be, even if you think it isn't.
  2. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Keep control of the direction of the muzzle at all times.
  3. Be sure of your target and beyond. Be aware of the target and what surrounds it. Know the identifying features of the game you hunt. Make sure you have an adequate backstop - don't shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
  4. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you're ready to shoot. This is the best way to prevent an accidental discharge.
  5. Check your barrel and ammunition. Make sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions, and carry only the proper ammunition for your firearm.
  6. Unload firearm when it is not in use. Leave action open; carry firearm in a case and unloaded to and from the shooting area.
  7. Point a firearm only at something you intend to shoot. Avoid all horseplay with a gun.
  8. Don't run, jump or climb with a loaded firearm. Unload a firearm before you climb a fence or tree or jump a ditch. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not the muzzle.
  9. Store firearms and ammunition separately and safely. Store each in secured locations beyond the reach of children and careless adults.
  10. Don't drink alcoholic beverages before or during shooting. Also do not use mind- or behavior-altering medicines or drugs.
  11. Consider additional safety precautions if a family member may be suicidal. When an emotional crisis (such as a breakup, job loss, legal trouble) or a major change in someone's behavior (depression, violence or heavy drinking) causes concern, storing guns outside the home for a while may save a life. Friends as well as some shooting clubs, police departments or gun shops may be able to store them until the situation improves. Sixty-nine percent of all suicide deaths were firearm related, according to the most recent statistics from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

For more information on this and other health topics, visit the CAMC Health Information Center.

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