Buckeye Valley students are receiving training from county Emergency Medical Services professionals to act as first responders in case of a mass casualty incident.

David Rosenberger, captain Tri-Township Fire Department, had read an article about a program in Ontario, Canada where students were trained to be first responders able to administer basic first aid during a medical emergency.

“The (Ontario) EMS and fire service got together to go into the schools to try to understand the lessons learned in training for mass shootings on school systems,” Rosenberger said. “In the last 12 years they’ve run about 240 students through a program similar to what we’re running, to be there on scene prior to our arrival, to help in first aid and administer CPR if need be.”

Rosenberger said, what has been learned in mass shootings is the lost of life was because of blood loss.

“It’s bleeding control,” he said. “If we can administer some type of first aid by teaching these kids this is a tourniquet, this how you apply it, this is where you put it, this is why, lives can be saved.”

In an active aggressor situation, Rosenberger said, the police will lock everything down to the point that EMS can’t get in to aid the victims.

“Again you’re looking at borrowed time,” he said. “In the time a call is made … it could be anywhere to 5 to 7 minutes before we get boots on the ground.”

Students are learning logistics and radio communication because from a tactical point of view Rosenberger said, “all first responders really want to know is where you are and what do you have.”

Eric Burgess, assistant chief Delaware County EMS, said the students have received their certification in CPR and first aid from the American Heart Association.

“It should also help us with cardiac arrest, seizures, difficulty breathing and stuff like that,” said Joe Farmer, captain Delaware County EMS. “Having the ability to do those smaller minor things would hopefully help them in a mass casualty situation as well.”

The conversation started 2-years ago when a student at the Delaware Area Career Center went into cardiac arrest.

“There’s a fire-EMS training center over there,” Burgess said. “Those folks were able to respond and save that students life.”

“That AED (Automated External Defibrillator) hanging on the wall is the number one thing that’s going to save someones life when they go into cardiac arrest,” he said. “Having those kids comfortable enough to operate that AED is going to be far more beneficial than anything we can ever do when we get there.”

Others will benefit from the training.

“It’s for the kids, by the kids, but not solely for the kids,” Farmer said. “You’re going to have teachers, parents and coaches all alike that will unfortunately succumb to some sort of medical emergency at some point.”

The group of 13 students is known as Teen Institute lead by the school resource officer, Delaware County Sheriff’s Deputy Fred Strawser.

Strawser said the school’s principal approached him with the idea of the training.

“The kids in the club are motivated students with good grades and are in more than one club,” said Strawser. “I told the kids if we do this there’s no telling where it can go. Now it seems like every year we add to what we have. We’ve tripled in what we did last year and now we’re having meetings once a month.”

Jim Albanese, principal, said at first he thought it would work well in a class, but said it just didn’t fit.

“What it does give us is these kids interested in a medical career a jump start,” he said. “It’s pretty intense and you’re not going to cheat your way through it.”

Delaware County EMS has applied for a $1000 grant from the Delaware County Foundation for the purchase of five medical bags and equipment to be strategically placed in Buckeye Valley High School.

By D. Anthony Botkin

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D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.