Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Daily Briefing for Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Moving The Needle In Our Schools

This isn't about Common Core or whether we should ban standardized testing in schools.  If you want to yell about that, move over to Facebook.

A couple of weekends ago, I made the third trek in as many years to my high school alma mater as the sponsor of what I am calling the "Student Responder Program."  We are teaching kids and faculty on how to be their own first responders until help arrives from police, fire and EMS. 

This year, we had 30 kids - a record - get certified by the American Heart Association in CPR and first aid.  In addition, I spent a fair amount of time with faculty and staff discussing the program moving forward.  These cultural change efforts generally take time, and I think the administration is beginning to get a feel for how best to incorporate a cadre of student responders into the day to day routine of the school.

Brett Young of Bedford County EMS and I during the training at Webb School a couple of weekends ago.  Note the Diet Mountain Dew bottle on the table.  No idea how that got there.

Concluding the course work with a quiz which I created.  Kids are playing for twenty bucks of Code Paul Cash.  Sometimes it pays - literally - to know where the nearest AED is and who Rick Rescorla was.
This concept of having people on campus act as responders rather than just victims to be rescued continues to gain traction.  One teacher in another school took a tactical medicine program to better equip her to be an asset during a school emergencyThis is the sort of thinking we need to make our schools safer.  Rather than "hide and hope," kids and faculty need to be part of the solution, since they're the ones closest to the action.

These cultural changes are often hard to make, but I can assure you they are worthwhile. 

Perhaps the best news we received over the weekend is that Bedford County EMS is already training students in other county schools to be medical first responders - for free.  Upon completion of the training, the students respond to medical emergencies on campus with the school nurse and render aid, including the administration of oxygen, CPR, bandaging, and other hands on care.  EMS has agreed to provide that same training to kids at Webb at no cost as well.  Needless to say, we are thrilled to be building a partnership with our local first responder community in a cost effective manner.

I started this program in part to test a theory I had - that kids can be trained to be part of the solution rather than people who just need to be rescued.  The theory, so far, is withstanding the scrutiny that's been applied to it.  Other schools are testing their own theories and ideas; as they do, eventually there will be an opportunity for schools doing so to come together and share best practices.  That's when this will become really exciting and meaningful to the participants.

Friends, if I can do something like this, you can too.  Pick a preparedness project that will help someone else - a school, a church, a neighborhood association - and be a leader for change.

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