Last week, members of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 16 presented Lord Baltimore Elementary School with an emergency trauma kit.
“Just because of the shootings, we became aware of the fact that they needed some equipment here and didn’t have the funding,” explained Lodge Vice President Ray Myers. “Because it was local, it fell under our purview to donate, so we did.”
In January, the Ocean View Police Department hosted a Specialized Tactics for Operational Rescue and Medicine (STORM) seminar, in which participants collaborated to enter the school, engage and take down a simulated active shooter, and then evacuate simulated wounded.
“We did some medical training for our local police and firefighters, dealing with critical injuries,” explained Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin. “For about a dozen years now, we’ve got a school safety plan in place that we’ve been enhancing.
“We identified that one of our weaknesses was the individual first-responder’s ability to provide critical lifesaving care. We wanted to address that, and we held a training event. Out of that, the local police and fire have purchased additional equipment. We saw a need to have a cache of equipment here onsite, in case there was ever a problem onsite.”
LB Principal Dr. Janet Hickman said that the school has been fortunate enough to have an ongoing working relationship with the community.
“We have a great partnership with Ocean View and community members that really look out for us. The chief called and said, ‘I have this training, and I think the nurse might want to go, and who else would like to go?’” recalled Hickman, adding that Michelle Baker, the school nurse, and the school’s head custodian, Barry McGee, attended the training.
Baker, who served in the Navy for five years, said the training was “intense.”
“I thought it was something I was just going to sit and listen to, but it was very active, it was very involved and very hands on,” she said. “It was really good. I found it very interesting and very worthwhile. It was enlightening. I feel more able to react appropriately in the best interest of the children.”
The donated kit, which will hang on Baker’s office wall at the school, is worth about $600 and contains individually packaged bags with tourniquets and trauma dressing, as well as additional items, such as triage cards, splints and a hypothermia heating kit.
“We didn’t have the funding for that, and the school didn’t have the funding for that,” said McLaughlin. “We reached out to the FOP, and these guys really stepped up to the plate and provided the funds. As a police officer, everything they need is right there at their feet, ready for them to begin. Everything you might need is right there. There’s no lost time.”
McLaughlin said that, if an emergency situation were to occur, the kit would help first-responders medically respond to any injured persons.
“The goal is we’ll keep this here in the nurse’s office and, if there’s ever an event, we know that we’ve got supplies to treat about a dozen critical patients — gunshot wounds or any kind of serious injury,” he said. “These kits are being used today on the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is top-quality stuff, the same kits that our Special Forces medics are using.”
McLaughlin said that the kit will allow for bulk supplies to be housed at the school, allowing for a better response time and more immediate care.
“The true first-responders — the staff at the school — can begin treatment immediately, prior to the arrival of the police and fire departments,” he said. “We always think worst-case scenario, but we could have a bad car crash. Somebody’s foot slips off the brake and hits the gas, and two people are run over in the parking lot.”
The FOP holds a number of fundraisers throughout the year at the Bethany Blues and Cottage Café restaurants, to raise money in order to support local organizations and charities including Toys for Tots, Justin’s Beach House, the Chad Spicer Foundation, Special Olympics and Atlantic General Hospital.
On Wednesday, April 10, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Lodge 16 will hold a dine-and-donate event at the Cottage Café near Bethany Beach. Between those hours, 15 percent of the night’s proceeds will be donated to the lodge, to help them purchase additional safety and security equipment for the elementary school.
Myers added that, with the FOP’s ongoing fundraising efforts, they hope to be able to donate more emergency supplies to the school.
“We appreciate your generosity, that’s for sure,” said Hickman to the group.
“It’s great that we have local people supporting the local school. Hopefully, it hangs on the wall and collects dust, but you never know,” added McLaughlin. “There’s so much out there, there are so many committees and paper plans. This was something tangible that we thought we could do, to have this here. The FOP jumped in, and it’s a great thing.”