Oak Creek — Before the end of the year there will be at least 50 medical kits installed in local public schools.
These kits aren't designed to handle bruised knees and paper cuts.
They're made for treating bullet wounds.
The Police and Fire departments are asking Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District leaders to stop thinking about if a school shooting will happen and start preparing for when it will happen.
Through in-service training in August and in two in-services in November, both departments have been preparing district staff to respond to and prevent shootings.
Life-saving first aid
The new medical kits hold two tourniquets, combat gauze designed to prevent bleeding and occlusive dressings specifically designed to prevent air from sucking into the chest through a puncture wound.
Nearly every staff member has had a chance to see these kits, and next month, they will have the opportunity to be trained on their proper use.
Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Pulvermacher said the Fire Department developed the kits because, during many school shootings, teachers and students tried to give aid, with mixed results. By training teachers to administer first aid to gunshot victims, Pulvermacher said, it could mean the difference between life or death.
It takes time to completely secure an active shooter situation, Police Capt. Mike Bolender said.
Bolender was the incident commander during the Sikh Temple shooting in 2012, and he said it took about three hours before that scene was completely safe.
"Nobody wants to think about their school or their school district as a combat zone, and neither do we, but there are days when combat comes to school — and those are the days we have to plan for," Pulvermacher added.
The kits will be paid for through donations. The district's goal is to have a kit in every room.
Having a plan
Police officers gave teachers firsthand knowledge of what a shooting would sound like by firing rifle blanks in school hallways during the in-service.
Hearing gunshots, Pulvermacher said, will familiarize teachers with exactly how a shooting will sound. To him, this is an important phase in the OODA Loop, the observation, orientation, decide and act loop the military uses.
"We have a lot of documented cases of people that didn't have a plan, and when the shooting starts they just froze and it cost them or their student's lives," Bolender added.
The Police Department will start the "See Something, Say Something," initiative, encouraging students who hear or witness violent threats to report them to any district staff member. That staff member will then bring the issue up to an administrator, who will turn it over to a multithreat assessment team.
The team will be made up of a counselor, administrator and members of the Police Department. They will make contact with the child and work with a behavioral analysis team in the FBI to determine what to do with the threat.
Saying this was a difficult, yet necessary conversation to have, Pulvermacher added, "Whenever you do something where nobody has gone before, it takes a lot of courage. It takes a certain amount of an open mind as you're going into this."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Oak Creek cops called for 'burning flesh' odor, but find a feast instead
- Police Report: Dec. 3
- News & Notes: Dec. 5
- New Year's Eve party to raise money to curb violence
- Oak Creek freezes employee pay for 2014
- Recycling used electronics for free
- $2.5 million needed to update library
- Oak Creek District 6 aldermanic seat will be contested (1)
- Black Bear to expand bottling operation in Oak Creek
- Oak Creek ups spending to $24.3M in 2014