2020 Risk All Star: Shannon Hojnowski

How This Risk Manager Made Her County Safer in an Era of Unprecedented Gun Violence

Shannon Hojnowski, assistant manager, safety and insurance, Anne Arundel County Gov.

When a rageful gunman slaughtered five journalists at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis in June of 2018, he forever changed the way the officials of Anne Arundel County, Md., would look at risk management.

The official who provided the county’s sharpest response was Shannon Hojnowski, the county’s assistant manager of safety and insurance and a 2020 Risk All Star.

Taking a page from the procedures of the U.S. Army, Hojnowski reasoned that if county staff could be trained to intercede, applying traumatic bleeding intervention, lives could be saved in the next mass shooting, should there be one.

“The survival rate of a wounded soldier who makes it to a field hospital alive is over 90 percent,” said Hojnowski.

“Today every U.S. field soldier is equipped with a tourniquet and trained on the techniques so that fatalities are reduced due to blood loss prior to receiving professional medical care at the field hospital,” she added.

Unfortunately for our society, the Annapolis attack was not the only example Hojnowski had to draw on. The FBI designated 28 active shooter events in 2018, not to mention other types of violent occurrences.

“The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing provided evidence that victims have increased survival rates due to prompt responses of bystanders who apply pressure and tourniquets to bleeding extremities before emergency personnel arrive,” Hojnowski wrote in her Risk All Star application.

“Our U.S. Military medical professionals affirm the need for quick action and stopping or eliminating the loss of blood of a victim,” she added.

Hojnowski got to work, and when she was done, two bleeding control kits were placed in every Automatic External Defibrillator location in the county. In collaboration with the county’s fire department and its health department, a training program was also rolled out, providing flexible hours for instruction for every county employee. The program included training in CPR and use of an AED in addition to bleeding intervention training.

“The importance of this potential life-saving initiative requires more than providing a training class. The initiative needed to be incorporated within our safety culture so that TBI training becomes as familiar as CPR,” Hojnowski wrote.

The training featured a video introduction on CPR, AED and TBI use, so that more time during live training could be spent on hand-on live instruction.

While learning bleeding control measures, employees were instructed in several critical aid areas, such as…

  • Calling 911 and providing timely/prevalent information.
  • How to stay safe and moving the wounded to safety, assessing the need to move a victim dependent upon the type of injury and the victims’ physiology.
  • Application of pressure and tourniquet placement, including explanation of wound severity, location, and availability of tourniquets and other bleeding control devices.
  • How to assist the injured to breath by allowing them to position themselves, or placing them on their side if they are unconscious.

No one can bring back the Capital Gazette workers who lost their lives in 2018.

But, “In the aftermath of the shooting we felt that providing training to our employees beyond prevention and survival and empowering them to help victims and first responders was the logical and responsible next step,” Hojnowski said. &

Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

See the complete list of 2020 Risk All Stars.

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