April 7, 2014

Emergency first aid supply kits for Putnam County Schools    Putnam EMS, Teays Valley Hospital and Putnam Sheriff's Dept. worked together to keep schools prepared for emergencies

We've all seen the headlines – shootings and other emergencies happening at schools in other states.

Putnam County isn't waiting for a disaster. It's preparing.

What started out as one school asking for help in preparing for a medical emergency has evolved into multiple agencies working to get disaster kits into in every classroom, gym and cafeteria of each high school, middle school and elementary school in the county.

CAMC Teays Valley Hospital recently purchased about 680 bags, stuffed with emergency medical supplies for schools in Putnam County.

"As a hospital, we know how important it is to treat and stabilize patients as quickly as possible," said Randy Hodges CAMC Teays Valley Hospital vice president/administrator.

Every minute counts and having several emergency bags already in place at the schools is a big help to first responders.

"Already having supplies on hand might help buy time for patients who are waiting on paramedics to arrive and be allowed into a building," said John Dearnell, Putnam EMS director. "Survival rates increase the faster victims can get care."

A working group that included representatives from the sheriff's department, EMS, the school board and Teays Valley Hospital has been meeting since last fall about the program and to decide what supplies needed to be in the bags.

The first round of training was held in March to show school nurses and teachers what is in these bags and how to use the supplies.

"We want the absolute safest school environment for the kids. This is the next step," said Chuck Hatfield, Putnam County Schools superintendent.

"Once schools get the proper amount of education, staff can stop bleeding and provide first aid to buy the extra time needed until the paramedics can get there with advanced life support," said Stephanie Watson, Putnam EMS education director.

Bags were purchased for each room because students may have to take shelter in their classrooms during an emergency. Each classroom needs to be self sufficient until law enforcement has secured the building.

"It helps us to know when we go into a building that school personnel have been trained to provide some basic care," said Eric Hayzlett, Putnam Sheriff's Department chief deputy. "As a parent who has a child in a Putnam County school, I'm excited about this."

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