Teachers Learn To Use Tourniquets In Case Of Shooting

Photo courtesy of the Barnegat Police Department

BARNEGAT – Barnegat Township School District, in cooperation with the Barnegat Township Police Department, have made history in the state of New Jersey by providing mandatory tourniquet training for teachers in the event of a school emergency.

The district and its teachers were featured on NBC Philadelphia on Dec. 7 for the tourniquet training program. NBC stated that Barnegat is the first school district in New Jersey to mandate this kind of emergency training for its staff.

With the dramatic increase of school shootings across the nation over the past year, Police Chief Keith Germain commended Barnegat schools for addressing the harsh and “unfortunate reality”: schools can be targets for dangerous activity.

“Active killer incidents are a nasty reality, and preventable deaths compound those tragedies. For just one example – of the 49 people murdered in the Pulse Nightclub shooting, 16 were determined to have survivable wounds – and the vast majority of those people bled to death,” said Germain.

This is the reasoning behind Barnegat schools’ unique training for teachers. If teachers are taught how to apply tourniquets to bleeding victims, it could help reduce those “preventable deaths” of students or staff that Germain mentioned, in the event of an emergency.

The NBC report detailed that “all staffers in the Barnegat Township School District are now required to be trained on how to apply a tourniquet.”

“It’s definitely unsettling to have this training but at the same time I’m walking away with a little bit of confidence,” stated Barnegat Teacher Samantha Burke in the feature.

Approximately 500 staff members received this mandatory training. This was just the first wave of training, said Superintendent Dr. Brian Latwis. The second training session will be held on Jan. 18, 2019.

The district’s six schools are now stocked with 150 tourniquet kits, to be equally distributed and easily accessible in each school, said Latwis. Each tourniquet cost the district approximately $20, he added, and they plan on getting more soon.

This year, in a joint effort with the Barnegat Police Department, the school district has been conducting ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training, which is Active Shooter Response Training. While the tourniquet training will undoubtedly benefit students and staff in an active shooter event, Dr. Latwis emphasized that it was actually an original idea thought up by Chief Germain, not part of the ALICE criteria.

After the feature went live, Germain took to social media to praise the program and the Barnegat School District for making strides in student safety.

“There are a lot of people to thank for making this happen,” said Germain. “First and foremost, huge thanks to Superintendent Dr. Brian Latwis and the teachers and staff of the Barnegat School District for being willing to accept and embrace a reality that too many find easier to ignore. Equally deserving are the Barnegat Board of Education and Township Committee for supporting Dr. Latwis, the staff, the PD, and the idea that Barnegat can work together to innovate and pursue the mutual goal of making our students the safest anywhere.

“Our hope is that we never experience a critical incident in our schools. But if it ever were to happen – you will have a district full of teachers and staff who can make a huge difference in the outcome,” he said.

Latwis added that down the road he hopes to see some high school students also trained in tourniquet application, but for now, the training is open to staff members.

“God forbid we ever find ourselves in one of those incidents, we wanted to make sure that we put our people in the best possible position to save lives and protect kids,” he said.

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Kimberly Bosco is the Assistant News Editor/Writer at Micromedia Publications. A recent graduate of Rutgers University, she has spent the last four years studying both English and Journalism Media Studies. Kimberly has also recently worked for both Visit.org Dialogues @RU as a writing and editing intern.