After 17 students and teachers were shot dead at a Florida school 23 miles from her hometown, Ashley Freeland raised $15,000 to outfit every class at 4,800-student Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fl., with kits from the American College of Surgeons Stop the Bleed campaign. The effort bears the name of a pre-existing U.S. Department of Defense progran, It trains everyday people in how to stanch gunshots and other types of wounds, reports the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. More than 2.4 million people have completed the training. Among them is Paul Gorlick, a social sciences teacher and advisor to Cypress Bay’s Make Our Schools Safe chapter, which was launched by Freeland, a senior. Gorlick said teachers flinched at the idea of being trained to triage gunshot wounds until they realized those new skills also could be used to lessen other injuries. “Everybody who did [train] said positive things about it. They feel a little more at ease and comfortable if they ever had to use what was in the kit,” he added. “The kids are aware of the kits in every classroom. They understand that it’s not just for a bullet wound. It could be for any type of serious wound.”
During the first crucial moments after a catastrophic accident or calculated gun violence, the reaction of nearby people can mean the difference between life and death for a person with a severe bleeding wound or injury. “If someone has an acute blood loss — let’s say there is the severing of an artery — by and large, that person will bleed out before the ambulance can make it there,” said Dr. Shane Speights, dean of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine campus in Jonesboro, Ar. Speights said third-year students at the osteopathic medical school, housed at Arkansas State University, are trained to stop bleeding. Upon completion of the training, the medical students get kits containing bandages and tourniquets that they can keep.” Alongside Arkansas, where the Department of Health has been equipping high schools statewide with tourniquets and providing training, others among a growing number of states requiring training and/or gunshot trauma kits in schools or other public places are Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.