Winthrop Schools Approved for Pilot Program

By Kate Anslinger

School Nurse Meredith Hurley secures a tourniquet on Hunter Gillis’ arm.

School Nurse Meredith Hurley secures a tourniquet on Hunter Gillis’ arm.

Winthrop has been selected to be the first school district in the Commonwealth to test out a new homeland security grant, which will provide tourniquet training to all teachers in the district.

After September 11, an Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) was put in place to raise awareness and ensure that public employees obtain the training they need to be proactive in the event of an emergency. This specific grant was developed in conjunction with the Devalle Institute and will provide 250 tourniquets to each school, along with a staff training that will educate faculty members and prepare them in the event that there is an active shooter in the building.

“Hemorrhaging is the leading cause of death,” said School Nurse Meredith Hurley, who submitted the proposal for the $15,000 training grant.

Realistically, tourniquet application is a skill that could be utilized in many real-life applications beyond school threats and acts of terrorism.  Bystander application of tourniquets saved lives after the Boston Marathon bombings and recently a Boston police officer’s life was saved due to tourniquet application after a shootout.

Sporting events, such as hockey games, could also result in the need for the training.

“We are also a community with many motorized watercrafts, which will always pose a risk of accidents resulting in hemorrhage,” said Hurley.

It is more likely that this skill would be utilized in many different situations other than a catastrophic episode inside the schools.

The one-hour teacher training will consist of basic application of a tourniquet and a four-hour in-depth training for school nurses, which will include the use of abdominal dressings and quick clot to stop bleeding. The grant also includes four school response kits for nurses and four active shooter response kits for First Responders.

Boston EMS and the Boston Health Commission will conduct the training, along with some interested officers at the Winthrop Police Department. Since the tourniquets will be stored inside and free from harsh elements, they will have a very long shelf life.

“It is very impressive that Meredith Hurley, a first year nurse in the district, took the initiative to research and apply for this grant,” said Kristen Reynolds, third grade teacher at the Arthur T. Cummings School. “This is just one example that shows how our staff goes above and beyond to help the students on a daily basis. This initiative is very exciting for Winthrop and it will provide an added opportunity to keep students, staff and visitors safe.”

If all goes well, the other eight communities that are part of metro Boston will adopt the program. Currently, all public buildings in Arlington, Virginia have hemorrhage control kits located with their AEDs, so Winthrop could be the first location that will be part of many changes that will be present in the future.

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