Ohio’s 12th Congressional District Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) announced Monday a public-private partnership that will provide life-saving equipment to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to equip first responders with life-saving tools used in mass emergencies.
During a joint press conference held in the Delaware County EMA Emergency Operations Center in Delaware, Balderson made the announcement in conjunction with Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security, fourteen individual central Ohio EMAs, and citizenAID, a Columbus-based company providing nearly 1,000 “Public Safety Drop Kits” to first responders within central Ohio.
According to citizenAID’s website, the company’s mission is to enable the general public to be effective during life-threatening situations before emergency services are available to provide professional medical support.
“We know that a crucial window of time exists before first responders can arrive on the scene of a mass incident — and may need to defuse a threat – before injured persons are able to receive care,” Balderson said. “By providing these drop kits and proactively empowering Ohioans to provide lifesaving care, we are giving back precious minutes that might be the difference between life and death. This partnership is an innovative move to equip our citizens with the skills and tools they need to save others’ lives while supporting a local small business.”
The adoption of the drop kits, a first of its kind in the country, will be purchased from citizenAID through a state Homeland Security Program grant awarded to 15 counties within central Ohio. Each of the 1,000 life-saving kits will be placed in police cruisers, fire apparatuses, emergency medical services (EMS) vehicles, and in special event units that are working large public events.
According to citizenAID, the drop kits are designed to provide easy access to tourniquets, pressure dressings and gauze to help control bleeding, emergency blankets, and nitrile gloves. Each of the kits include concise, step-by-step instructions, and a citizenAID pocket guide. The company packages six “Public Treatment Kits” in a small transportable bag making it easy for first responders to drop them to civilians to help treat the wounded.
“This collaborative grant project seeks to mitigate risk associated with (mass attacks) with bleeding control being the primary focus,” said Sean Miller, Delaware County Emergency Management Agency director. “This project is representative of the federal, state, and local levels of government working together collaboratively to bolster public safety.”
Other officials who spoke during the Congressman’s press conference were Sheriff Russell Martin, Delaware County; Sima Merick, Ohio EMA executive director; Jeff Young, Franklin County EMA, and Homeland Security Office director; Sean Miller, Delaware County Emergency EMA director; and Bob Otter, founder and Chief Executive Officer of citizenAID.
“With these citizenAID Public Safety Drop Kits, we now have the ability to enable the uninjured to help save lives before EMS arrives,” Young said. “Bystanders should no longer feel helpless, they should feel compelled to help. They are part of the chain of survival, and we are empowering them to be successful in that role.”
Otter said citizenAID opened its doors six days before the mass active shooter event in Parkland, Florida.
“We’ve been drinking out of the educational fire hose since then, putting our equipment and our training in our country’s schools,” he said. “Here locally in central Ohio, we’re in every school in Licking and Knox counties.”
Otter said the company is now working with Franklin County Public Health to put equipment and training in 15 local school districts in Franklin County.
Balderson said it was Otter’s forward-thinking that led to obtaining the grant and getting the kits into the hands of first responders.
“It was all Bob’s idea,” he said. “We started working on some grant ideas, and he worked forward through that and the EMA. It was a team effort that shows a collaborative between the state and local levels. This is what you can get done when you all work together.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.