FWISD training program, Stop the Bleed, could be the difference between life and death in a mass school shooting
Pantego Christian Academy is prepared.
There, many teachers and staff know how to strap tourniquets on people to stop traumatic bleeding.
And now there are bleeding control kits to help them do that throughout the school, as required by a new Texas law.
“You don’t want anything bad to happen, but you never know when you will need these skills,” said Jeanette Stipp-Puffer, nurse at the Pantego Christian Academy in Arlington. “You always want to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.”
A check with several Tarrant school districts shows that some schools already had bleeding control kits.
When people hear about these kits, “they always think of intruders, active shooters. But something could happen anywhere,” Stipp-Puffer said. “There could be an injury at home.
“In today’s world, it could happen at Walmart.”
The law by state Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, D-San Antonio, requires bleeding control kits to be available on all Texas public school campuses by Jan. 1, 2020.
School security and those who might be called upon to use the kits must be trained on how to do so. Students from seventh grade up also may be trained to use the kits.
These kits “will help prevent loss of life” in a mass shooting or any other serious emergency, the bill analysis states.
Lalita Kunamneni, a 17-year-old graduate from Flower Mound Marcus High School and a gun reform activist, said it is sad students are beginning classes as teachers and school nurses train on these bleeding control kits.
“We have a population that is scared of mass shootings wherever they go,” said Kunamneni, who urges North Texans to donate blood for El Paso shooting victims.
New Texas law
The law requires schools to have kits in place as soon as Sept. 1 and no later than Jan. 1, 2020.
It also requires the kits, or bleeding control stations, to have tourniquets, chest seals, compression bandages, bleeding control bandages, latex-free gloves, scissors, space emergency blankets and markers.
It’s up to school officials to determine how many kits are needed, where they should be placed and how many tourniquets each kit should include.
“The law is new but we were a year ahead of the law,” said Clint Bond, spokesman for Fort Worth schools, where school nurses trained last year on techniques to stop bleeding in emergency situations.
Hospitals help train teachers, students and school employees.
Medical City Arlington plans to soon meet with Pantego Christian Academy and other schools. Pantego, for one, hopes to soon train 12th graders how to use these kits.
“As a level two trauma center ... we do public outreach, community training,” said Kelly Hanes, director of community and public relations with Medical City Arlington. “It’s a service we offer to the community.”
But Stop the Bleed training is not limited just to schools.
Hanes said they’ve trained a number of groups.
Health officials stress that uncontrolled bleeding for five minutes or less can lead to death.
“Stop the Bleed is as important as CPR,” Hanes said.
Continued push against gun violence
The shootings in El Paso and Dayton occurred as a generation of young activists moved from high school to college vowing to fight against gun violence.
Katie Silverman, a Southlake resident and sophomore at UT Dallas, has been pushing for gun reform since a gunman attacked a high school in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.
Last year, Silverman and Alanna Miller, another former Southlake Carroll Senior High School student, organized a vigil for the victims of the Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting.
“It feels likes we are on the cusp of making meaningful change and this is a first step,” Miller said of efforts to pass a background checks bill at the federal level.
But more work remains in preventing gun violence, both Miller and Silverman say.
“We are not preventing these things from happening,” Silverman said. “It’s just handling it when it happens.”
Miller added: “That’s really not a positive. That is not something we should be asking of children and teachers. We are asking schools to respond to violence once it has already happened.”
Student activists continue pushing for federal laws that focus on universal background checks. They also support red flag laws to prevent gun purchases by people with a history of domestic violence or abuse to stop violence from entering schools in the first place.
“We are not trying to take guns away,” said Kunamneni, who is headed to Texas A&M University. “We aren’t. We are trying to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who shouldn’t have them.”
Silverman said many students look for exits and places to hide when they are at school, but the El Paso and Dayton tragedies are a sad reminder that people can fall victims to gun violence anywhere.
“It’s really sunk in that it happens everywhere,” Silverman said of mass shootings. “It is a powerless feeling when this happens. It makes me worry about my friends and my sister who are still in high school.”
Stop the bleed
The Fort Worth school district has bleeding control kits at many schools already.
The kits available in Fort Worth schools were donated and valued at about $125, Bond said.
Last year, the district’s nurses completed a “Stop the Bleed” course established by Cook Children’s and the Fort Worth Fire Department Firefighters Association.
Nurses were asked to pass the training along to campus staff.
This year they plan to train as many teachers as possible, Bond said.
School nurses are likely to be in charge of the kits, which are typically in the nurse’s office.
Students in the district’s emergency medical technician high school programs are learning about the bleeding control kits as part of their lessons. Some other students in health science programs are learning how to use the kits for extra-curricular skills competitions.
Bond said the law doesn’t specify too many details about the kits and leaves it up to the safety and security committee of each district to meet and develop how to follow the program.
In Keller, every elementary, middle and high school has bleeding control kits managed by campus nurses. The kits cost about $60 each.
The district partnered with a hospital system to train nurses who will serve as instructors for campus staff. The district is studying how to offer this instruction to students in grades seven or higher.
In Birdville, each school has a bleeding control kit, at a cost of about $65.
In Azle, officials started the “Stop the Bleed” training last year, as part of a partnership with the Fire Department. They are now buying kits for their 11 campuses. And some campuses will have more than one kit, said Todd Smith, assistant superintendent for Azle schools.
The kits, at a cost of $20 each, will be put inside defibrillator units. Kits also will be part of athletic trainers bags. The plan is to train members of the campus AED team how to use the bleed kits. They’ll train Azle school bus drivers how to “stop the bleed” as well, Smith said.
At Hurst-Euless-Bedford schools, bleeding kits are on each campus and school nurses are trained to manage them. The kits were donated and training was provided by Texas Health Resources. The H-E-B school district is researching how to expand the program by adding more kits and training staff and students.
And at Northwest schools, plans are underway to create a committee to meet the requirements of the law, including pinpointing responsibilities and funding.