Rutherford County Schools’ First Responders Complete ‘Stop the Bleed’ Program

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Joyce Kumlien, a tenth year first responder, practicing correct tourniquet use.

Nurses holding training at each school this year

By GRAYSON LEE MAXWELL

Rutherford County Schools

Teachers at Smyrna Primary last week completed the Stop the Bleed program – a critical training all RCS first responders are taking this year. Eight teachers participated in the training which included tourniquet and wound dressing demonstrations.

The first responder program is not new. Each school is a part of the program, with teachers either volunteering or fulfilling roles based on their position, such as gym teachers.

“Their job is to help me respond to emergencies. Whenever a Code Blue is called, they’ll each have a specific role, and they’ll bring their jump bags,” said Jonna McCracken, one of two nurses who share duties at Smyrna Primary.

Before the training began, each of the teachers listed their roles: note taker, calling 911, who will direct EMS, etc. Everyone has a job to do when an emergency occurs, but everyone has been trained in basic first responder skills.

“Each year in the first month we go through a first responder training, just making sure they have all their credentials including CPR and first aid,” said McCracken.

During the training, teachers watched a video on tourniquet training — adding another skill to their toolbelt after already being certified in CPR and first aid. They then practiced real life tourniquet application under McCracken’s trained eye.

Joyce Kumlien is a kindergarten teacher who has volunteered as a first responder for 10 years and has worked at Smryna Primary for twenty.

“I like helping,” Kumlien said, “and I’m good in emergencies. Afterwards not so much, but during the emergency I’m calm. My daughter has special needs, so I have a lot of experience in nursing, plus I want to be able to help her if I need to.”

Multiple other staff have similar stories to Kumlien. They want to be prepared to help students in a worst-case scenario.

Ben Wells has been a PE teacher and first responder at Smyrna Primary for two years.

“Being the PE teacher, I was volunteered to be a responder – but I wanted to be. I’ve always wanted to be prepared and I like being able to help people,” said Wells.

After they’ve completed Stop the Bleed training, the first responders at Smyrna Primary will add the tourniquet to their jump bags. The bags will hang in their classrooms, ready to be used if ever necessary.

“I don’t want to be in a situation and not know what to do,” said Wells. “I will be prepared to help my students.”