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Ohio city to put 500 trauma kits in school buildings

Superintendent Doug Ute hopes the treatment kits, developed by citizenAID USA, won't ever be needed


By Marc Kovac
The Columbus Dispatch

NEWARK, Ohio — Newark city schools are the first in the country to buy a central Ohio startup's new system to help civilians handle injuries that result from school shootings and other violent incidents.

Superintendent Doug Ute hopes the training and treatment kits, developed by citizenAID USA, won't ever be needed.

But, he added: "You've got to prepare for something like this. If you don't prepare for it and lives are lost, it's something that you could have prevented. I think that's the important part of this."

It's a sign of the times, as officials increasingly turn their attention toward securing school buildings and ensuring students and staff are safe.

Newark schools already has increased their emphasis on mental health, providing more programming and intervention for students and staff to address stress and other issues before they escalate.

The district also employs a resource officer at the high school, has installed special door locks to secure classrooms, and has adopted communications systems that can quickly notify law enforcement and emergency responders of violent incidents.

The new treatment kits and training will provide an added support if students or staff are traumatically injured and awaiting medical treatment.

CitizenAID was founded in the United Kingdom and operates there as a nonprofit, offering the training resources.

Longtime Granville emergency responder Bob Otter co-founded citizenAID USA, with offices in Westerville and Washington, D.C., to offer the same educational outreach, plus injury treatment kits for use in schools and other public and private facilities.

The company offers a free phone app with easy-to-understand instructions on dealing with traumatic injuries. And the kits, which sell for about $45 each, include tourniquets, pressure dressings and other basic supplies for dealing with wounds.

They're different from the first-aid kits that schools already have on hand, Otter said.

"This is for someone catastrophically injured," Otter said.

Part of the issue with shootings at schools and elsewhere is that buildings have to be secured before paramedics can enter, Ute said. In some past cases, it has taken hours to complete that process.

In the meantime, those who have been injured stand a better chance of survival if treated quickly. A person can bleed to death in minutes from a gunshot or other wound to a femoral artery, Otter said.

"We absolutely need the public to put hands on those patients and save their lives," he said.

The Newark school board recently approved spending about $15,000 to place 500 of the citizenAID kits in its 11 buildings by this fall. The district also secured licenses for 600 teachers, staff members and others to complete online training for stabilizing gunshot and other wounds.

Copyright 2018 The Columbus Dispatch

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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