Should high school students be trained to treat MCI patients?

After DHS announced a grant for high school tourniquet training, EMS1 readers weighed in on if students should be trained to help their peers in a mass shooting


By Shelbie Watts, EMS1 Editorial Assistant

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced a new grant that will fund training to prepare students for a mass casualty event, and EMS1 Facebook fans had mixed reactions.

While some readers think all students could benefit from learning life-saving skills, like tourniquet application, some don’t think students should feel pressured to focus on treating their peers in incidents such as an active shooter.  

First responders tend to a victim after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (Photo/AP)
First responders tend to a victim after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (Photo/AP)

What do you think? Take a look at what our readers had to say and be sure to share your opinion in the comment section below.

First aid, tourniquet application valuable skills

Many of our readers believe all students should learn first aid skills, simply because they’re a vital tool to have.

“Accidents of all kinds happen and school is the one place we can make sure everyone learns the basics,” Rebecca Burt Scarborough wrote. “Why wouldn’t you want your kids to know this stuff?”

Wyatt Parsons agreed and referred back to his Boy Scout days. “As a Boy Scout, I learned first aid,” he said. “Before graduating high school, I had been the first on the scene at one car accident;, one ATV accident; one bicycle accident; one deep knee cut due to hiking fall; numerous burns, cuts, bloody noses and so on. Don't learn first aid just because of school shootings. Learn first aid because life happens and people get injured and you can help.”

Justin Bowers not only thinks students should be trained on how to apply tourniquets, but also in other life-saving skills. “They should also be including training on chest seals,” Bowers said. “Students aren't wearing body armor and are more likely to have chest trauma than extremity bleeding. Tourniquets are a vital medical skill and can save lives in a number of circumstances, but there are plenty of skills that need to be taught for an active shooter or MCI.”

Keep children safe during an active shooter

On the flip side, many readers believe putting the pressure on students to save victims during a mass casualty incident is unsafe.

Debbie Linkous Thomas said the idea is great, but perhaps unrealistic.

“This is terrific if the injured are in a secure place with someone who can help ... but I have to think that most victims will not be felled in a secure location, unless they can crawl to one, and once a classroom is locked down, they are taught not to open the doors for anyone but police,” she said.

Jim Fox added that students are not equipped to handle victim situations. “I spent 35 years on the streets. An MCI is usually chaos and mass confusion to various levels to the professionally trained responders,” he said. “Young kids, in general, in my honest opinion, are incapable of handling or comprehending everything that it takes to mitigate an MCI.”

Michael Schainost wondered why students are being trained to do anything else but get to safety. “OK ... education is good, I get that,” Schainost said. “But isn't the No. 1 rule of an active shooter situation to escape?”

What do you think? Will the training help students save their classmates’ lives,  or should students stay safe and leave the lifesaving to the professionals? Be sure to let us know.

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