August 23, 2019
In response to mass shootings throughout the nation, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (FWBMC) and Twin Cities Hospital (TCH) set out on a mission to help educate teachers and students throughout Okaloosa County on safety measures to help minimize the number of casualties should an incident, like Parkland, Florida, occur in Okaloosa County.
Motivated by the 2012 tragedy in Sandy Hook and by other multiple mass causality tragedies that have occurred in the ensuing years, the federal government started a group known as the Hartford Consensus. This group was convened to bring together leaders from law enforcement, the federal government, and the medical community to improve survivability from manmade or natural mass casualty events. Often during these events injuries are present with severe bleeding which, if left unattended, can result in death. The participants of the Hartford Consensus concluded that by providing first responders (law enforcement) and civilian bystanders the skills and basic tools to stop uncontrolled bleeding in an emergency situation, lives would be saved. The first responder program has received very good response across the country. The next step was to focus on the needs of civilian bystanders. The layperson needs simple basic training in Bleeding Control techniques so they will be able to provide immediate, basic first-aid until first responders are able to take over the care of an injured person. In many situations there may be a delay between the time of injury and the time a first responder is on the scene. Without civilian intervention in these circumstances, preventable deaths will occur.
Since then, Stop the Bleed kits have been introduced to Trauma Center Outreach Programs throughout the nation so educators could go out into the community to train civilian bystanders. In February 2018, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center's Trauma Outreach Team chose to partner with Crestview High School to Train the Trainer and educated over 300 students on how to use the "Stop the Bleed" kit in case of an emergency. Crestview High School received the first Stop the Bleed kit in the county.
A few months later, in August 2018, Deputy Cullen Coraine, SRO Deputy (School Resource Officer) at Liza Jackson Preparatory School, began purchasing materials to start a stop the bleed kit on his own. The supplies were costly, so little by little he would add new items. Deputy Coraine's decision to build his own bleed kit was the initial pebble in the pond that would eventually spread professional Stop the Bleed Kits to all schools in Okaloosa County. He mentioned his project to an employee of Twin Cities Hospital who began researching the prices to purchase a full kit for the school. The idea was to donate a Stop the Bleed kit for each High School in the district and eventually extend that process to the middle schools.
Fast forward to July 2019, the second Stop the Bleed kit was donated to Okaloosa County School District. The kit was presented to the school district by the hospital CEO's Mitch Mongell (FWBMC) and Dave Whalen (TCH). The Okaloosa County School Superintendent, Marcus Chambers, then took action to place a Stop the Bleed kit in every school in Okaloosa County. After hearing about the program, Niceville Police Department wanted no school in their district uncovered, so they stepped in and committed to purchase two kits for Rocky Bayou Christian School in Niceville. The next steps for the schools will be to install the kits and then trained personnel from the hospitals will go into the schools to train faculty and students on how to correctly operate/apply each kit in an emergency situation. This is truly the entire community coming together to help make schools a safer place.