Local teachers training to be first responders

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The threat of mass shootings at school calls for new ways of thinking.

One idea locally is to turn teachers into first responders. Teachers have always been caregivers, so it is natural to train them to be the first ones to stop the bleeding.

At a life-threatening incident, a teacher may be the only one close enough to a wounded student or staff member to render emergency first aid. Thirty-eight teachers from South-Western Schools Career Academy are learning how to be first responders instead of bystanders. Grant Hospital Trauma Outreach Coordinator Stacey Wickham showed them how to use tournequets to stop the bleeding from an appendage and pack the wounds for someone shot in an area where a tourniquet would not work.

The idea came about after the mass killings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Wickham said medics and ambulances can rush to the scene of a school shooting, but can’t always immediately get inside the building because of a lockdown.

“Bleeding is the number one cause in death of trauma patients, and especially life-threatening bleeding. So a person can bleed out in three to five minutes,” said Wickham.

Those teachers received the hands-on training at OhioHealth Doctor’s Hospital on Columbus’ west side.  Both vital skills that Wickham said could keep coworkers and students alive during the time span before medical help arrives.

“They taught us today about packing the wound and continuing to pack it until you can’t get any more gauze inside of it and you are continuously putting pressure on it,” said Interactive Media Teacher Jay Dimasso. The class is made up of juniors and seniors.

Nicki Ragusa is also a teacher at the Career Academy. “They are like my own children, that is how I view them every day when they walk through my door they are in my care and I have to do absolutely everything I can to keep them safe.”

Our changing society means teachers have to adapt and be prepared for those choosing to do harm. Ragusa has been teaching for 30 years and said you cannot dwell on all the bad things that could happen.

“You can’t look at that every day or you would be afraid to walk through your own door, so you keep it in the forefront and you have a plan in mind and hopefully you never have to use it,” she said.

Dimasso said he trained with the National Guard before becoming a teacher and had some trauma training, but said that has changed over time too.

“When we become first responders it not what we thought we were going to do when we began, but it has become part of the job that we need to know,”

OhioHeath will be giving another “Stop the Bleed” course on March 31 for the general public.

  • Shelby, OH – Three two-hour sessions, beginning at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.  The courses will be taught at The James W. Kehoe Center for Advanced Learning at North Central State College.  Those interested may register by emailing wendy.gunder@ohiohealth.com or by visiting:-https://www.eventbrite.com/e/national-stop-the-bleed-day-tickets-43033317812
  • Columbus, OH – One two-hour session at 11 a.m. at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center’s Hugenberger Auditorium.  You can sign up by emailing Stacey.Wickham@ohiohealth.com or calling (614) 566.9808 to register.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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