Texas firefighters to train teachers on saving lives

School officials are teaming up with the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association to learn lifesaving basics to stop blood loss

By Eva-Marie Ayala
The Dallas Morning News

Across the country, teachers are adding emergency medic-style training to their skills. Fort Worth will soon be among them.

School officials are teaming up with the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association and Cook Children's Medical Center to learn lifesaving basics to stop blood loss after a shooting or other emergency.

"This last shooting in Florida had us thinking there must be something we could do to make a difference," said Mike Drivdahl, a Fort Worth firefighter. "So we'll start teaching the training this summer. We've put in some information to make it specific for pediatrics because there is a difference when you're working with kids."

Drivdahl said the Fort Worth Firefighters Charities is working to raise money so tourniquet kits will be in every Fort Worth ISD classroom. Such kits typically include gauze, compression bandages and other blood-clotting supplies.

Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond said the program is still taking shape, with a handful of central personnel receiving preliminary training so far.

"This is just the beginning, so we'll have to start buying kits and talk to our nurses to make sure they get the training and then we can move forward to decide what's best for our teachers," Bond said. "But we are moving in that direction."

Over the past five years, about 125,000 teachers, counselors and administrators across the country have been trained in stemming blood loss as school officials tried to address the grim trend of campus shootings, according to The Associated Press.

The effort is rapidly expanding, and more schools are now stocking classrooms with supplies that would be familiar to any military medic.

In Iowa recently, a sixth-grade teacher shook her head as she learned the basics of applying pressure and packing a wound. This may now be an essential skill for her profession.

Kari Stafford didn't like it, but with school shootings now a regular occurrence, she and her colleagues have reluctantly accepted that the attacks won't stop and that teachers must know how to keep victims from bleeding to death.

"Learning to help and not just stand there is important," Stafford told AP.

Copyright 2018 The Dallas Morning News

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