Idaho Teens to Equip Schools with Bleeding Control Kits
July 31—After 17 students were killed in a February shooting at a Florida high school, just going to class could be a frightening thought.
But two Magic Valley students decided to do something about it. They plan to provide bleeding control kits for their own schools in case the unthinkable happens here.
Filer High School student Fallon Cassidy and Twin Falls High School student Karlee Price, both 17-year-olds, are partnering on a "Stop the Bleed" initiative for their senior project. They're seeking to raise $17,000.
They want to distribute 10 duffel bags with supplies each to Twin Falls and Canyon Ridge high schools, and four to Filer High School.
The kits, designed to be accessible in public venues like schools, include life-saving medical equipment to use in case of a natural disaster or emergency such as a school shooting. The equipment allows bystanders to help stop victims' bleeding and potentially save lives before emergency responders arrive.
"Stop the Bleed," a national campaign, is gaining momentum across south-central Idaho. In addition to the high school senior project, the Jerome Fire Department wants to distribute kits to Jerome schools and plans to offer training.
St. Luke's Magic Valley Health Foundation has Twin Falls and Jerome funds to raise money to buy kits for public places. And St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center is planning "Stop the Bleed" trainings this fall.
No matter how rapidly emergency responders arrive on scene, "bystanders are always going to be the first ones to access those patients," said Amanda Payne, a firefighter with the Jerome Fire Department.
Each kit includes supplies such as a tourniquet, bandages, latex gloves and gauze. The tourniquet stops bleeding and is used before a patient arrives at a hospital.
The students have done their research and have grown up hearing about school shootings nationwide. They speak matter-of-factly about what happens in these situations.
In the case of a school shooting, it can sometimes take a couple of hours before law enforcement apprehends a shooter and clears the building to allow emergency medical responders inside, Fallon said. If there's not proper equipment available to stop a victim's bleeding, she said, someone can die in five to 10 minutes.
By providing training, people will know how to stop bleeding even if they don't have a tourniquet, Payne said, by using a piece of clothing.
Fallon and Karlee heard about "Stop the Bleed" from their parents. Fallon's father is an emergency medicine physician at St. Luke's Magic Valley and Karlee's mother is a registered nursing professor at the College of Southern Idaho.
After the shooting in Parkland, Fla., school safety was on Karlee's mind. She said she was skeptical about how safe she was at school.
Across the Magic Valley, several high schools experienced social media threats within a couple of weeks after the Parkland shooting. "We had a scare with a lockdown at my school," Fallon said.
Karlee, whose goal is to become a nurse, said she wants to distribute "Stop the Bleed" kits to schools to help students feel safer and provide life-saving medical supplies.
Idaho high schoolers are required to complete a senior project in order to graduate. The requirement went into effect statewide in 2013.
It's the culmination of students' time in the public school system. Students explore an interest related to academics, a future career or community service. Projects must include at least 40 hours of hands-on work and each student must find a mentor.
Beyond Fallon and Karlee's senior project, a handful of other Magic Valley agencies and organizations are raising money to buy bleeding control kits.
"I think this is just the beginning," St. Luke's Magic Valley Health Foundation director Dawn Soto said about local "Stop the Bleed" projects.
One goal, she said, is to have kits in police cars and ambulances, in addition to schools.
In Jerome, Payne is studying to become an emergency medical technician and came across "Stop the Bleed" through a class. She brought it up with the city.
Instructors with the Jerome Fire Department will teach city and school employees how to use the items in bleeding control kits. CPR instruction will also be integrated into the training.
Payne said she doesn't know many kits they'll distribute. The ultimate goal, she said, is to have one in every Jerome classroom and in other school venues, such as gymnasiums and auditoriums. She'd like to eventually see kits available at farms and dairies, too.
Payne has an eye on how much the initiative could grow. She said: "This is something that can go so much further than our community."