In the world we live in today, being prepared for incidents of mass casualties is a normal part of operational planning for public safety. School shootings have occurred in cities both big and small across the United States, and the devastation is and will always be seen in the various communities that have been affected. In response, Daniel Ellenberger, EMT-P, chose to prepare most of the schools in Northeastern Ohio to be preventative in responding to these horrible situations.
Ellenberger, director of the University Hospitals (UH) EMS Training and Disaster Preparedness Institute (EMSI), developed a training concept that has been instituted in over 21 counties throughout Northeast Ohio, over 100 schools, and touched over 4,000 students to improve preparedness in major incident responses. Ellenberger and the EMSI staff took the national Stop the Bleed concept and some of the active shooter and active threat trainings and designed a bucket that contains supplies that can make a difference in these situations.
The buckets contain hemorrhage control materials, basic first aid materials, door wedges, barricading materials, color indicators for public safety communications and basic toiletries as prolonged periods of lockdown may be expected for students and staff. The buckets are currently provided to each classroom in the school system and determined public areas.
The staff and students attend training hosted through the hospital to ensure proper understanding of the application and indications of the tools provided. Teachers and staff who have gone through the training have all responded with a higher level of comfort as so many expressed feelings of helplessness before. Now, they have been given tools and training to possibly make a difference.
Ellenberger and his UH team instruct all the schools and public safety on putting these buckets in the same place in each classroom in the school system so that no matter what room a student, teacher, or public safety responder enters, these supplies are easily located, and people are trained in their use. This simple concept of standardization of lifesaving equipment and training has had a beneficial impact in the community and is a constant visual reminder to see something, say something.
UH doesn’t charge for the education or the material included in the buckets, as Ellenberger worked with them with the goal of providing the materials free of charge. He also made great efforts to obtain community buy-in as the school systems would incur a cost in having their staff attend training. Ellenberger was able to show the return on investment for all parties was far greater than that of one that strictly involved a financial return.
Collaborative efforts between fire, EMS and law enforcement have made this initiative successful and impactful. The innovation of creating these buckets and the application and implementation of the education into the communities has better prepared the region in the event of major threat or incident. The continuity of the training in the communities allows for this innovation to be scalable into all areas of the service networks while filling University Hospitals’ mission of building lifesaving communities.
Currently, over 3,000 buckets have been implemented to over 21 counties and the list continues to grow each week. Over 4,000 people have been trained in the use and application of the UH Stop the Bleed buckets. Ellenberger and the UH team look forward to expanding this concept out into all area of the communities of University Health Systems Hospitals.