A school district in Ohio plans to make tactical trauma kits available in every classroom, beginning this fall. The kits are similar to those used on battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s a decision that has some parents scratching their heads. After all, these are children, not soldiers. But injuries in school are rapidly increasing due to mass shootings and other tragic events. These tactical kits can and will save lives. Your agency may want to consider getting behind similar measures in your local school system. Having the right equipment can be a matter of life and death following a tragedy.
School: An Increasingly Dangerous Place for Kids
Recent mass shootings highlight the fact that school is an increasingly dangerous place for kids. The U.S. has 57 times as many school shootings as all other industrialized nations combined. In 2018, there was an average of one school shooting per week. Shootings grab the most headlines, but they’re far from the only risk students face at school. Consider the following:
- Ten to 25 percent of all injuries to children occur while they are in school.
- While school violence has declined overall, 3 percent of students report being the victim of a crime while at school.
- Three percent of youth homicides happen at school.
- Six percent of public school teachers are attacked by a student each year.
- In the 2015-2016 school year, 79 percent of public schools reported that at least one crime had occurred on campus.
These statistics are terrifying. But parents should take heart in knowing that schools are diligently working to become safer and more secure. Tactical medical kits are a part of this strategy. When the materials necessary to promptly intervene in emergencies are available, catastrophic injuries may become more minor, while once-fatal injuries become survivable.
How Tactical Medical Kits Can Save Students’ Lives
The Pennsylvania kits are aimed at bleeding prevention—a major cause of death and injury in classroom emergencies. But bleeding is just one of the many dangers students face in school. A school-based crisis preparedness program should look broadly at various school-based emergencies and be ready to address them, including:
- Allergic reactions and anaphylaxis prevention
- Choking recognition and treatment
- The ability to promptly contact medical first responders
- School security in the event of an intruder or act of violence
- A comprehensive emergency preparedness plan
- Escape options in the event of damage to the building due to a natural disaster or danger to children because of an intruder
- Preventing the spread of infection and contaminants when students are sick or injured
Your agency can play a key role in preparing schools for potential emergencies. Consider offering disaster preparedness seminars for parents, teachers, and students, then working with the local school district to assemble an appropriate emergency intervention kit.
The Importance of Preparation
Some parents may worry that the presence of tactical kits in schools will frighten children or needlessly alarm staff. Yet hiding from reality won’t change it. Children may actually find great comfort in knowing that the equipment necessary to save their lives will be there should they ever need it.
The need for disaster preparation extends to all first responders. As schools prepare their disaster plans, it’s time for your agency to look at whether you have all you need in the event of a crisis. Maintaining a patent airway is key to managing most injuries. The right suction machine makes the process easier, and is less likely to fail when you need it. For assistance choosing the right machine for your agency, download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Portable Emergency Suction Device.