SCOTT COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) — With a deadly mass shooting at a Texas elementary school still fresh on the minds of both parents and educators, many want to know what is being done locally to protect their kids while in class.
One Southwest Virginia school system is advancing its emergency plan, all through a team effort brainstormed and funded by community players.
In early April, Jason Wood, an investigator with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office inquired about implementing advanced first aid measures on campuses across the county.
He said the idea spurred when the department was going through its own training refresher course on the individual first aid kits they carry daily.
Wood said these kits are given to the officers placed on campuses but wondered what more could mean in the event of a true emergency.
“If something does happen, God forbid that it does, that SRO only has one kit. Enough equipment to take care of one victim,” he said.
Following this idea, he reached out to Ballad Health which immediately said they were on board.
“We feel like if our outreach results in one life saved, then we’ve done a good job,” said Dr. George Testerman, the trauma medical director at Holston Valley Medical Center.
Testerman is known as the face of this operation, taking an active role in the training process. He secured the district its own advanced first aid kits known as Stop the Bleed kits and furnished a donation through the Ballad Health Foundation to supply these kits to Scott County Schools at no cost.
Overall, it’s a donation that totals over $6,700 worth of medical supplies.
The 14 kits being donated to the system are complete with eight smaller packs that contain masks, gloves, shearing scissors, gauze, a tourniquet, and more.
It’s tools like these that could stop an uncontrolled bleed, which is something Testerman calls a preventable death.
“Somebody who has a life-threatening bleed can die in a few minutes and it may take EMS 10 minutes to get there from where they are so this is a technique that can be used on the spot by almost anyone with minimal training to stop life-threatening bleeding,” said Testerman.
Testerman led a discussion with officials within the Scott County Department of Education last week, he said the message and kits were well received.
Gate City High School Principal Scott Vermillion was one of the educators in attendance at the initial meeting.
“It got our safety supervisors thinking this would be really neat to have on hand if something were to happen,” Vermillion said.
He said it’s already being written into their emergency plan for next year and while he hopes they never have to be used, it will be reassuring to know they’re on campus.
“We plan for these things, but you just pray that something like this never happens again anywhere,” Vermillion said.
Testerman said the first step is reaching out and training educators. He said down the road, the potential to train upperclassmen is a possibility.
In the coming weeks, teachers, educators, and other faculty within the district will partake in an hour-long course learning everything they need to know about using these kits. Ballad staff will lead the training sessions.
Vermillion hopes Scott County acts as a leader for positive change when it comes to school safety and that others also consider implementing such equipment.