Ter­ror train­ing: Schools given lessons in sur­vival

New fed­eral ini­tia­tive ed­u­cates pub­lic on how to treat gun­shots and other in­juries

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Stony Brook, New York

It’s be­come a hall­mark of ter­ror at­tacks and school shoot­ings: the fate­ful min­utes or hours when the wounded are hun­kered down, wait­ing for the vi­o­lence to play out and for help to ar­rive.

In Mon­day’s ter­ror at­tack at Ohio State Uni­ver­sity, one of the 11 wounded vic­tims hid in a cam­pus build­ing for nearly 90 min­utes be­fore po­lice gave the all-clear and she could be treated.

When a gun­man opened fire at an Or­lando, Florida, night­club, in June, a woman sent a fran­tic text mes­sage to her mother say­ing she had been shot and couldn’t stop the bleed­ing. She later died.

Such in­ci­dents are the im­pe­tus be­hind a new fed­eral ini­tia­tive to train ev­ery­one at schools and other pub­lic places — cus­to­di­ans, se­cu­rity guards and ad­min­is­tra­tors — on how to treat gun­shots, gashes and other in­juries un­til EMTs can get to the scene.

“We don’t want you to just hide and bleed to death like we saw in Or­lando and other places,” said Lawrence Zacarese, the as­sis­tant chief of po­lice at Stony Brook Uni­ver­sity, which is spear­head­ing train­ing for school dis­tricts and col­leges across the coun­try. “We want you hid­ing and main­tain­ing and do­ing some ad­min­is­tra­tion of first aid un­til we can get there.”

At a train­ing ses­sion on Tues­day, paramedics and doc­tors brought in fake body parts — blood spurt­ing from the wounds — to show staffers of a Long Is­land school dis­trict how to tie tourni­quets and pack open wounds.

“Sec­onds mat­ter. It re­ally can be min­utes when you can lose your life,” said Doc­tor James Voss­winkel, the chief of trauma and emer­gency surgery at Stony Brook Uni­ver­sity Hospi­tal, who led the train­ing.

“Take yes­ter­day at Ohio State, some­one is hid­ing out and if they are hem­or­rhag­ing, what do they have avail­able? Do they have shoelaces? Do they have a tie on? Can they make a tourni­quet?” Voss­winkel said.

Doc­tors em­pha­sized that in the sec­onds af­ter an at­tack it’s im­por­tant for teach­ers and other school staff to stay calm and be­gin as­sess­ing in­juries. Teach­ers learned to ap­ply tourni­quets in case a stu­dent is shot in the arms or legs — us­ing T-shirts or belts, if nec­es­sary — and to stick any­thing they can to pack wounds.

“I don’t care if you stick Kleenex in there, pack it up,” Voss­winkel said. “We want the av­er­age per­son, even if they are in­jured them­selves, to be able to per­form th­ese po­ten­tially life­sav­ing med­i­cal skills.”

Stony Brook doc­tors have reached out to lo­cal schools to of­fer the train­ing, but are look­ing to ex­pand the pro­gram as part of a fed­eral Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity ini­tia­tive to other schools, col­leges and po­lice de­part­ments.

“No­body should die from pre­ventable hem­or­rhage,” Voss­winkel said.

ILYA NAYMUSHIN / REUTERS

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