Students Learn How To Save Lives In Case Of School Shooting
Harding University High School students learned how to help save their friends from bleeding to death from a gunshot wound Wednesday as an emergency room doctor walked them through how to make and apply tourniquets from things they could find in their backpacks.
Dr. David Callaway, an emergency room doctor, gave the students 30 seconds to apply the compression bandage. The Navy veteran led the training and instructed students on how to take stuff they might have with them, like a bandana and a stick, and then how to make and tie a tourniquet. He said that’s what he used while serving overseas.
“Fifteen years ago to the date, I was on the border of Iraq and Kuwait and I was taking care of marines that were getting shot up in a small town called Nazarai,” Callaway said. “This is what I was using to take care of people.”
Callaway now treats trauma patients at Atrium Health. He said he’s treated hundreds of victims with gunshot wounds and stabbings, and tourniquets make “all the difference” in emergency situations.
According to Callaway, there are military studies that say you significantly increase the chance of someone surviving if you apply a tourniquet quickly and correctly.
“So you’re not going to cause any damage from the tourniquets,” Callaway said. “You put it on, you save a life and you make sure you are in a safe position.”
He lent his arm to 16-year-old sophomore Anner Padilla so he could practice.
When Padilla asked Callaway if he should remove the tourniquet once the victim stopped bleeding, Callaway said, “You leave it on. You put it on and you are done.”
Padilla said he’s happy for the instruction because a school shooting could happen anytime.
“Well I try not to think about it because you never know,” Padilla said. If you think about it a lot, you are going to be scared to come to school.”
Last week, a bomb threat was made at the school. Padilla was in science class. He said he didn’t realize it wasn’t a drill at first because he’s used to drills. When the school security guard came around, Padilla said he realized the threat was real. He then texted his mom.
“My mom was kind of scared because of recently what happened in Florida,” Padilla said. “My mom kept texting me every five seconds saying, ‘are you okay?’ ”
The threat turned out to be a false alarm. Padilla said even though it was scary, he feels that learning how to apply a tourniquet gives him some control. He and some other students didn’t seem too scared by the training. It seemed like just another drill.
Some students, like 15-year-old Zyonna Austin, were skeptical they’d be able put this new skill to use during a shooting.
“It’s pretty good [training], but I’d be scared to present it on somebody,” Austin said.
This variation of school training is new for CMS. CMS and surrounding districts have long had lockdown drills to protect students from threats outside the building. Several CMS schools are now starting active shooter drills.
A Northeastern University analysis showed that while multiple-victim shootings, in general, are on the rise, that's not the case in schools. There's an average of about one a year. But that doesn’t take away the fear. Devon Magliozzi, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Stanford University who studies the social impact of security strategies, says there is a need for more research.
“What we do know is that school shootings are unacceptably common but statistically rare,” Magliozzi said. “Which is part of why rigorous research is difficult. These trainings, on the other hand, are becoming ubiquitous.”
Magliozzi said there needs to be more research on whether school shooting drills actually work and if they’re worth the effort and anxiety.
“These drills are teaching students that they need to handle their own survival and take steps in their everyday lives to protect themselves rather than relying on schools or government policies to keep them safe,” Magliozzi said.
But to Callaway, the tourniquet training is an easy step that could help people - not just at a school shooting, but anywhere.
“We can teach people how to save lives while the rest of the government is figuring out how it is going to deal with this problem,” Callaway said.
The students at Wednesday's training were the first group of kids to be trained at Harding. The school's plan is to train all 1,700 students.