RPS equipped with ‘bleed kits’ in case of mass casualty situation

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It’s every parent’s worst nightmare — a shooting at your child’s school.

It’s something we all hope never happens, but now, local school staff are being equipped to respond if the worst were to ever occur.

8News got a look inside Richmond Public Schools as the new ‘bleed kits’ were delivered.

Richmond Ambulance Authority and VCU Medical Center delivered the so-called “bleed kits,” or hemorrhage control kits, to Richmond Public Schools. The kits have essential tools to respond to an emergency.

“We see a fair number of gunshot wounds,” said Karen Shipman, a trauma outreach coordinator at VCU Medical Center. “It’s not the majority of our trauma, but it’s very traumatic for patients and families.”

That’s why she said VCU Medical Center wanted to team up with Richmond Ambulance Authority to give the schools these kits.

“What it does is it teaches the community how to respond to these events,” Shipman said. “With our increase, I would say, in school shootings and mass shootings that are of course making the news more than we would like, this is what we thought we could bring to our community.”

If a mass casualty situation were to occur in the schools, now some RPS employees are trained to take action.

“Our student safety is very very important,” said RPS Assistant Superintendent of Exceptional Education and Student Services Michelle Boyd. “We focus on academics but we need our students to be safe first and foremost and while it’s a slim chance that students would need this information and these resources we always want to be proactive instead of reactive.”

“We focus on academics but we need our students to be safe first and foremost and while it’s a slim chance that students would need this information and these resources we always want to be proactive instead of reactive.”

Preparing for a traumatic event like a mass casualty situation is becoming more of a focus for schools.

“We do talk a lot about what can we do in the case of an emergency,” Boyd said. “We want to make sure that folks are knowledgeable and educated as to how to respond in cases where students may be injured on the athletic field or a science classroom, those types of things, so we offer education classes, we partnership for the CPR training and we want to make sure that we can continue to partnership for the bleed safety kits.”

For now, many schools will keep the bleed kits in the nurse’s office until they can get more throughout the school.

So what’s inside the backpack? First there’s a tourniquet. It’s used to apply pressure to a limb if you have a limb injury. Next, there’s what’s called “combat gauze.”

“You put it inside a wound,” Richmond Ambulance Authority Chief Operating Officer Rob Lawrence explained. “The blood then absorbs into the gauze and it helps coagulate and therefore stop the bleeding.”

There are also a variety of dressings, and even some common items that you might need in case of an emergency like gloves and scissors.

It’s all to make sure school staff can treat someone who’s hurt before help arrives…

“These folks that have this equipment are our very very first responders and therefore they arrive on scene and can stop the bleed, and control the patient until we arrive on scene,” said Lawrence, who added that it’s important for schools to have this type of equipment. “It’s a bit like the days of teaching everybody CPR, it’s a basic skill that we all need to have, we need to know how to do CPR, and we also need to know how to control a hemorrhage if a hemorrhage occurs.”

Having the bleed kits could make all the difference if the worst were to occur.

“The worst case scenario is with a gunshot wound, but that said, any penetrating type of trauma or any injury that penetrates the body you can apply these principals to control the bleeding…. and if we can control the bleeding we can save a life,” said Lawrence.

So far, 70 school security officers and 40 nurse staff have been trained on how to use the equipment inside the Bleed Kits. The schools are organizing groups of other staff who want to do the training.

If you work in a school and you’re interested in doing the training, contact your school administrators.

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