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Kits let school staff be first responders

By July 11, 2017

Region: North America

Topic: Bipartisanship

CLUTE — Brazosport ISD staff are being trained for something they hope they never have to use.


“Has anybody seen anything about a school shooting ever in the last 10 years?” said Fred Ortiz, Lake Jackson Emergency Medical Services director, told those being trained Monday.


“We don’t want to think about it, but the reality is it’s happening,” Ortiz said. “You can go all the way back to Columbine, Virginia Tech — school after school, there’s been a lot of people shot.”


For such worst-case scenarios, all Brazoria County schools will receive tourniquet kits that will allow teachers and other staff members to provide life-saving aid. Each person in the room learned how to apply a tourniquet on themselves in case they need to do so before helping another person.


“I hope they’ll never use it — honestly, that’s the hope — but they are there,” Ortiz said.


In a lockdown situation, EMS won’t be able to get to gunshot victims right away. If something pierces a main vein or artery, a person can bleed to death in about three minutes while EMS response times average about four minutes, Ortiz said.


Teachers and staff will have to act in their place, and sometimes that means getting creative with using what’s available, he said.


“We worry about dishonoring the flag, but I think that would bring a lot of honor to the flag if we save a child’s life,” Ortiz said.


There are other situations a tourniquet could save a life, such as a lawnmower accident or a car crash, Ortiz said. In each case, a tourniquet can stop bleeding in seconds, which makes all the difference in saving a life.


The Regional Advisory Council for Trauma Services Area R, which includes nine counties, funded a grant for Brazoria County schools to have the life-saving kits. The EMS director is overseeing training for only Brazosport-area schools.


“They went out and got grants for us to try to get into all our schools throughout our entire region,” Ortiz said.


Last year, Lake Jackson EMS partnered with the Brazosport Rotary Club for a $7,500 grant to purchase and issue tourniquets to Brazosport-area police departments and other emergency responders. Ortiz has replaced at least five tourniquets since then, he said.


The next step is to get tourniquets inside every city vehicle, he said.


“The trash trucks and all the different city vehicles,” he said. “If they’re out and somebody’s out mowing, or whatever, they’ll have access quicker than we can get there.”


Tourniquets are important because they can put an end to the most preventable cause of death, he said. “The No. 1 cause of preventable death is bleeding to death from an extremity,” Ortiz said.


For Brazosport ISD schools, a tourniquet will be available wherever the school keeps an automated external defibrillator.


“Our goal is to teach all staff. We may not get to everybody, but we’ll implement throughout the school year,” said Molly James, Brazosport ISD Health Services coordinator.


“Anything that’s life-saving is beneficial to our staff and students,” she said.

Photo: Ashely Crisp has her self-applied tourniquet checked for tightness Monday during training led by Lake Jackson EMS at the Brazosport ISD administration building in Clute. By Prentice C James/ Special to The Facts

Source: Stephany Garza/ Special to The Facts

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This entry posted on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 a31 01:43 PM and is filed under Bipartisanship.