FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - "In many cases, first responders take time to get to the scene. And that time is valuable minutes and lives lost," says Mackenzie McCormick, the Coordinator of Safety and Emergency Management for Fargo Public Schools.
McCormick is responsible for keeping Fargo's kids safe while they're at school, and she's found a way to make that a little easier. She just secured an $86,000 grant to expand the district's 'Stop the Bleed' program.
“‘Stop the Bleed’ is a national initiative to train civilians as first responders,” she says.
"Death can occur within minutes after a bleeding incident. There's an opportunity to intervene in those first few minutes by the civilians," adds Jamie Lindburg, a Registered Nurse in Trauma Services with Sanford Health.
Aside from training school staff on how to use the tourniquets, the grant money will also put the ‘Stop the Bleed’ kits inside every single Fargo Public Schools classroom, which experts say is where they need to be.
"When you take a global look at these intentional mass shootings, they're occurring places like movie theaters, schools, shopping districts, churches. So bringing it down to the schools is one of those avenues where we can teach these basic lifesaving bleeding principles," Lindburg says. “It’s going to be a while before help arrives. So the help is the people on the scene – teachers, students, staff.”
"Having these kits available is very helpful in those situations – especially in an active threat situation," McCormick says.
Because preparing teachers just in case can make the difference between life and death.
"Unfortunately, you can't predict these things. And when they do happen, it's important to be prepared because it's simple measures that anybody can do to save a life," says Lindburg.
"Where as law enforcement is going to take longer to arrive – we are the first responders," McCormick adds. “It is so valuable that we can control that bleeding and stop that bleeding to save lives.”
West Fargo Public Schools’ teachers have also been trained how to stop the bleed. The district’s safety coordinator says basic tourniquets can be found in every classroom, and a small number of the more sophisticated tourniquets can be found in the office's emergency response kit.