If a student gets hurt, what's past the band-aid? What do you do then?
When teenagers shot high school students at Springfield High School, our country mourned. But none of this is new. The earliest recorded schoolhouse active violent incident was in Greencastle, Pennsylvania in 1764 where the schoolteacher and ten children were killed. Although obviously occurring under very different circumstances, there were additional events occurring at schools throughout the 18th and 19th century. Not until the University of Texas massacre in 1966 where 17 were killed, 31 injured, did we start seeing modern day increases in the number of casualties. In 1998, the attention turned from high schools and universities to elementary schools where our most vulnerable play in schoolyards. Not all wounds can be managed by trained teachers with big hearts, but those that can be must be.
While Run-Hide-Fight is a plan, what if we had a more complete plan?
What if we trained our teachers to TREAT?
While politicians argue over the wisdom of arming teachers, no one would object to training teachers to treat serious wounds and save students’ lives: You are the first line of protection against immediately life-threatening injuries. Law enforcement arrives on average 4 minutes after the first 911 call; EMS arrives 4-10 minutes later. In the first 10 minutes, any medical care is either performed by private citizen bystanders or law enforcement. Casualties can die without hemorrhage control and life-saving intervention while awaiting First Responders.
In 2016, two students and one teacher were wounded after a teenager fired rounds into a schoolyard. 6-year old Jacob Hall died. The first-grader lost 75 percent of his blood from a bullet, which pierced his femoral artery in his thigh, officials said. He was rushed to Greenville Health System Children's Hospital, where he had multiple surgeries after going into cardiac arrest. The school nurse was not trained in the use of tourniquets or control of massive hemorrhage. Who at your school is?
Massive hemorrhage from a femoral artery laceration can generally be controlled with the proper application of a tourniquet. If school nurses, playground attendants, and teachers were trained, our children would be safer. We cannot imagine anything more nightmarish than being an educator dedicated to children and watching them unnecessarily die from a treatable wound.
The White House launched a Stop the Bleed campaign in 2015, encouraging every American to get trained to stop massive hemorrhage, to obtain tourniquet training and save lives. Teachers, educators, and youth leaders should be at the forefront of this movement.
“No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene. A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes, therefore it is important to quickly stop the blood loss. Those nearest to someone with life-threatening injuries are best positioned to provide first care. According to a recent National Academies of Science study, trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans under age 46. Remember to be aware of your surroundings and move yourself and the injured person to safety, if necessary.” - US DHS Stop the Bleed, https://www.dhs.gov/stopthebleed
What if you could learn all of these skills, in a 7.5-hour online course that you could take when and where you had time? What if the lectures were engaging, used diagrams and photographs to clearly explain the science and the tactics behind what you should do? What if your school had a trauma kit colocated with the AED and instead of just learning CPR, you learned how to save the lives of kids from a more frequent cause of death?
Mike Shertz, MD is a board-certified, practicing Emergency Medicine Physician and former Army Special Forces medic. He has trained individuals all over the world and brings you real-world examples and experience in an easy to absorb course. You’ll learn the science behind the techniques so you really understand what needs to be done and can do it under stress, as well as how to keep yourself and those you care about safe while you treat casualties. You’ll see lectures followed by hands-on skills demonstrations. With a small investment, you could train right alongside the videos from your living room or computer this weekend. By Monday, you could walk back into your school, look each student in the eye, knowing you could provide a holistic idea of how to keep your students safe, and how to treat them if they needed to you to do so.
To see effective use of direct pressure to stop bleeding and for an improvised technique you can use on massive hemorrhage with kids, look at the direct clamshell pressure and pediatric improvised tourniquet videos on our bonus content page. To see a middle schooler teaching her classmates some of these basic skills, you can check out the blog.
For a teacher's perspective, Deepwaterhappy.com has some blog articles about a Florida teacher's preparations for her classroom. She's also got some great resources on how teachers can get first aid kits to deal with massive hemorrhage for their classrooms.
Our Students' experience
As a school administra
Thanks much Crisis Medicine and please keep up the good work.
Blake Peters, Head of School | German International School of Portland
I completed the Tactical Casualty Care course both in person and online. Being an educator at an elementary school, I think it is important to learn these tactical care techniques as we are the first line of protection for our students. The techniques can be used in any type of emergency situation earthquake, fire, and during active shooter situations. Mike is a great instructor providing information that is easy to understand, remember and replicate. I feel confident that I can help save a life!
-Ashley Parsons, Extended Programs Manager, German International School