Ferndale Fire Department Lt. John Schwall explains how to use chest seals to Ferndale Public Schools staff members at Ferndale High School Oct. 23.

Ferndale Fire Department Lt. John Schwall explains how to use chest seals to Ferndale Public Schools staff members at Ferndale High School Oct. 23.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Ferndale educators learn proactive responses to active shooters

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published October 29, 2019

 Ferndale Public Schools staff members practice using tourniquets with help from local authorities.

Ferndale Public Schools staff members practice using tourniquets with help from local authorities.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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FERNDALE — Teachers and administrators from Ferndale Public Schools last week trained at Ferndale High School to use kits to treat life-threatening injuries and learned new techniques to respond to active shooters or other dangerous situations.

On Oct. 23, members of the Ferndale Police and Fire departments met with district employees for a refresher course on how to use Jacob’s Kits, which were named after a child who died from massive blood loss in a school shooting but whose life could have been saved.

Each kit contains tools to help control or stop bleeding. These tools include a tourniquet, two chest seals to help with bullet wounds, two pairs of rubber gloves, scissors and gauze.

The Jacob’s Kits were purchased last year for every classroom in the district, and the teachers underwent a day of training in order to familiarize themselves with the tools and how to use them.

Fire Department Lt. John Schwall was one of the instructors last year and also helped reintroduce the teachers to the kits this year by demonstrating how to use a seal for a chest wound.

“If they had an opening, a wound on their chest area, or on the back in the same area where your lungs are, we would apply gauze over the wound and then put this seal on it,” he said. “We can keep air from going back in, because as air gets in, it’s going to keep filling the space and eventually cause the lung to collapse. If we can prevent that, we can keep their lung inflated and it helps keep them breathing longer.”

Other volunteers from the Police and Fire departments taught the teachers how to use the kits on other areas of the body. With the neck, shoulder and groin area, they were shown how to compact the wound to stop the bleeding. For arm and leg wounds, volunteers showed how to apply a tourniquet.

In addition to the Jacob’s Kits, new to the training this year was a presentation on active shooter response tactics. The techniques are in line with training strategies from ALICE Training Institute, which aims to help teachers make proactive, lifesaving decisions to help their students and themselves.

The techniques ranged from evacuation methods to ways to engage the assailant.

“What I’ve learned is that we’re changing our approach when it comes to these situations, and not just doing the shelter in place,” University High School Assistant Principal David Gardner said. “It’s giving us a little more latitude to kind of assess the situation and make some more informed decisions.”

An employee of UHS for close to 15 years, Gardner said that the day overall was beneficial, especially going over the kits and knowing how to use them.

“Even though it’s just a walk-through, it helps to go through just like with anything,” he said. “That preparation helps with — God forbid — something that actually happens.”

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