We've said many times in the past that a mindset of emergency preparedness is often looked down upon as paranoid — until a real emergency arrives. When that day comes, preparation, training, and stockpiled gear can save lives. A recent story from WSPA 7 News demonstrates the tragic consequences of a flaw in the preparedness plan at an Anderson County, South Carolina school district.
The story starts out with a reasonable premise: Anderson County school officials realized the need for emergency medical trauma kits for quick response to life-threatening injuries. Better yet, concerned father and former Special Operations combat medic Ross Johnson offered to donate trauma kits made by his company, Tactical Medical Solutions, to every school in the county. Unfortunately, bureaucracy within the county Emergency Management Board allegedly stalled the process, and temporarily withheld the donated kits from schools.
Two years later, the kits Johnson donated still hadn't been distributed to the schools. Tragically, an active shooter incident occurred at Townville Elementary School, leaving three students injured. One student, six-year-old Jacob Hall, was shot in the leg and lost significant amounts of blood. A nurse reportedly attempted to improvise a tourniquet to stop the blood flow, but Hall would later die of his injuries. The donated trauma kits may have made a difference during this emergency, but they were nowhere to be found.
A WSPA 7 News video summarizes the situation:
So, what can we learn from these events? First of all, the situation emphasizes the general importance of medical trauma kits and tourniquets in every home, business, and government building. These supplies can save lives, and slow blood flow until emergency services arrive. Preemptive training on how to use this gear is also essential.
Secondly, these events reinforce the importance of personal and family preparedness. It's understandable to feel frustrated by the alleged oversights of the Emergency Management Board in Anderson County, but this should also serve as a reminder to prepare your family to deal with medical trauma. Each member of the family (including children, if they're old enough) should be trained to respond quickly and slow blood flow with pressure and/or a tourniquet.
It may also be necessary to meet with your kids' teachers and school administrators to confirm the presence of trauma kits, staff training, and emergency response plans. If you find that your kids' schools lack the supplies or planning they need, pursue this issue with the school board, and consider providing these tools directly to teachers or your own children — a tourniquet won't take up much space in a backpack or desk drawer. While the school board, emergency management board, and other government agencies should certainly do everything in their power to prepare for these emergencies, so should you. While some may see your preparedness as paranoia, it can save lives.
Thanks to contributor Andy Schrader for the tip about this news story.