South Carolina

‘We’re prepared’: York County schools add Stop the Bleed trauma kits to classrooms

A York parent started an initiative earlier this year to add more trauma kits at Harold C. Johnson Elementary School. Thanks to a Duke Energy grant, every classroom in the school now has a trauma kit.

Other York County schools also have the kits.

Each York school received 12 kits from the state in 2018, said Kevin Queen, safety and security director for the district.

The district then purchased more kits, 365 total to date, to outfit every classroom in each of the district’s 10 schools, Queen said. Teachers carry the kits with them when their students leave the classroom for lunch, recess and other activities.

“It’s just a sense of awareness and preparedness for our teachers,” Queen said.

The kits also are in common areas such as gyms, auditoriums and cafeterias, Queen said. He said the district is working to add kits to school buses.

The kits are “important if there’s a trauma or a significant injury that’s got blood involved,” said Crystal Nichols, school nurse at Harold C. Johnson Elementary. “Stopping that bleeding is the life-saving piece of the puzzle.”

The kits were purchased from Tactical Medical Solutions, a global provider of pre-hospital medical gear, a release from the company states.

“We’re ready and we’re prepared,” Nichols said. “Teachers like to be prepared and have the tools. They’re not nurses, but they can know what to do with the tools they now have.”

In 2018, trauma kits were provided to public schools in Upstate South Carolina through the Upstate Healthcare Coalition’s “Stop the Bleed” initiative, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. School districts received tourniquets based on their population.

The initiative follows multiple school shootings in recent years.

The tourniquet kits include supplies and “cuff-like devices that can stop severe traumatic bleeding during an emergency on the school campus or during a school event, enabling lay-people to intervene and potentially save lives in the event of a life-threatening injury,” a release from DHEC states.

“Bleeding is the number one preventable cause of death in a trauma patient,” Rich Wisniewski, trauma coordinator with DHEC, said Friday.

Other healthcare coalitions also implemented the project in their regions, providing kits to public schools throughout the state, according to DHEC.

Other area districts also are prepared.

The Clover school district has a Stop the Bleed kit in every classroom, said Bryan Dillon, spokesperson for the district. The kits include one pair of gloves, a tourniquet, two high absorbency pads and one roll of gauze.

Clover schools also have lockdown kits in every classroom, Dillon said in an email to The Herald. Those kits include gloves, a tarp, duct tape, waste bags, kitty litter, toilet paper and a bucket that can be used as a waste receptacle if needed.

Every classroom in Rock Hill schools has an emergency kit, said Mychal Frost, spokesperson for the district. The kits are also on school buses and in offices, elevators and common areas throughout the district.

The Fort Mill school district has placed kits strategically in schools, with the number of kits available determined by how many first responders are at that school, said district spokesperson Joe Burke.

“These employees are CPR/First Aid certified and are the ones who would respond in the case of an emergency,” Burke said in an email to The Herald.

Lancaster schools have Stop the Bleed kits in each school bus and kits are located strategically throughout the schools, said Byran Vaughn, director of safety and transportation.

The Chester County School District has a Stop the Bleed kit in every classroom, said Becky Crouch, spokesperson for the district.

The 2018 Stop the Bleed initiative was funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Hospital Preparedness Program and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to DHEC.

More than $1 million in federal aid was awarded to South Carolina regional healthcare coalitions for the project, according to DHEC. More than 18,000 Stop the Bleed kits were distributed to S.C. schools.

Districts also received free training on how to use the kits, according to DHEC.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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