Back to school: Tourniquet training for high school students

DHS grant to teach tourniquet application puts direct pressure on kids to help other kids during a mass shooting and before EMS arrives

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla., students resume classes today after the summer break. They will be greeted and protected by a new fence with guarded or locked access points, more security staff and more school resource officers. It’s been six months since 17 students and teachers were killed and 17 were injured by an armed gunman.

As we continue to cast about for solutions to prevent mass murder inside our schools, it’s unsurprising that the Department of Homeland Security is offering a $1.8 million grant to an awardee to develop a program and training curriculum to teach high school students to use tourniquets. The School-Age Trauma Training grant aims to train teens on how to “assist victims with traumatic injuries” in emergency situations before responders arrive.

Immediate control of severe hemorrhage with tourniquets like the SWAT-T and Combat Application Tourniquet, as well as tourniquets improvised from materials at hand, like belts, strips of clothing and backpack straps, is critical to reducing mortality from penetrating trauma. Occupants inside soft targets, like schools, churches, and stores and other public spaces, will always be vulnerable to well-armed gunmen intent on causing maximum death and injury. Preparing as many people as possible to move, escape or attack, along with lifesaving first aid skills, is sensible public policy.

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