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Preparation is key: District to receive tourniquet kits as part of response program
Stop the Bleed
Brandywine Elementary fifth grade teacher Kim Coley practices using a training tourniquet as part of the Stop the Bleed program. The initiative will put 12 tourniquet kits in each public school in Forsyth County. - photo by Alexander Popp

To increase public preparedness and prepare for the worst, each of the 37 public schools in Forsyth County is receiving 12 emergency tourniquet kits from Georgia Trauma Commission as part of the Stop the Bleed school response program.

When $1 million in funding was approved for the Stop the Bleed School Response Program last March, the Georgia Trauma Commission put out a news release addressed to Georgia schools stating that research showed bystanders with little or no medical training “can become heroic lifesavers.”

The release stated that similar to the use of CPR or automatic defibrillators (AED), improving public awareness about how to stop severe bleeding can make all the difference.

According to Brandywine Elementary School Nurse Perri Yearwood, these kits could mean the difference between life and death when the unthinkable happens.

Stop the Bleed
Capt. Rick Hamilton of the Forsyth County Fire Department and Cheryl Chenkus, Brandywine Pre-K teacher, practice putting a training tourniquet on a dummy. - photo by Alexander Popp
“It doesn’t have to be a shooting situation,” she said. “Any kind of injury could happen. So, it’s just good to have. It’s like CPR — you hope you never have to use it, but we like to have everybody trained and aware of how to handle a situation.”

In early February, the faculty and staff of Brandywine Elementary in South Forsyth County gathered in the school’s cafeteria to learn how to use the new tourniquet kits, and practiced putting the tourniquets on dummies.

“So, you have two options with this kit,” said Capt. Rick Hamilton, EMS coordinator for the Forsyth County Fire Department. “The tourniquet is fast, and the gauze takes several seconds to apply, but either one is just as effective.”

Hamilton said that each kit will contain one tourniquet, gloves, bandages and lengths of gauze. He added that beyond the items in the kits, Forsyth County  teachers are being taught how to provide emergency medicine and stop bleeding with everyday items, in case there is an incident and no kit is available or nearby.

“They are learning two ways, one with a kit and one without a kit,” he said, explaining that with the right pressure, anything applied to a wound might be the difference between life and death. 

“Without a kit you are using any kind of material you can get: T-shirt, towel, washcloth, paper towels, your bare hand if that’s all you have,” he said. 

Hamilton said they hope to have every teacher trained by the end of 2018.

“Hopefully, they will be able to save lives,” Yearwood said at the Brandywine training event. 

She said now that the teachers of Brandywine have been trained how to use the kits, each one will be placed in strategic places throughout the school, so if they are needed, they can be found quickly and easily.

“These kits will be placed throughout the school, not just in the clinic, but in the front office, in the cafeteria, in the library and in the gym, so that any time they might be needed we won’t have to go running around looking for them … and now that they are trained, they will be able to save a life if we have an unfortunate situation, where something like that is needed,” she said.