By: Jen Russon
When Lori Alhadeff, created the non-profit organization, Make Our Schools Safe, it was in response to her 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa’s brutal murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, 2018.
Alyssa was among the 17 killed in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history; 17 more were injured that day, many owing their lives to emergency first responders.
Alhadeff is painfully aware a person can die from blood loss within five minutes – a statistic trauma surgeons explain at BleedingControl.org, which disperses kits and training to organizations like hers, who in turn help local schools.
J.P. Taravella became one of those schools this week, with the help of a generous donation from Make Our Schools Safe. Alhadeff said Marilou Raham, a Taravella faculty member, convinced her to donate the kits and bleed control training.
Raham said she was thrilled to thank Alhadeff at a School Advisory Council (SAC) meeting this week, where information about Stop the Bleed was shared with school employees.
“I wrote to Lori asking if they would assist us. They generously donated over $19,000 worth of kits and supplies to my school. I believe we are the only high school in the city to secure this equipment,” said Raham, an early childhood education coach.
She added the kits have just been installed in 186 classrooms at the Coral Springs school, with a larger Stop the Bleed kit now ready for use at the security desk in the cafeteria.
Raham and colleagues said they benefited from a 90-minute training session on how to properly use compression gauze, tourniquet, chest seal, gloves, and emergency blanket that come with each kit. A prosthetic wounded limb was used to illustrate life-saving compression techniques.
Taravella’s media specialist, Ruth Pineiro said the entire staff – not just teachers, but cafeteria and custodial, clerical, and anyone who was in the school, was trained how to use Stop the Bleed kits.
The training course included a formal presentation and hands-on practice of direct pressure application, wound packing, and use of a tourniquet. It was developed for a nonmedical audience to control an injured person’s bleeding before paramedics arrive.
“I hope I never have to use it, but it’s nice to know we have them if we need them,” Pineiro said, adding she was happy to attend a SAC meeting this week that honored Lori Alhadeff with a special plaque.
Alhadeff said she appreciated the acknowledgement, and reiterated the national bleed control organization’s stance — that it’s often the nearest bystander who has the best chance of saving an injured person’s life, in the event of gun fire, stabbing, detonated explosives or other serious accidents.
“Of course we don’t have an unlimited amount of money to donate to schools, but I want to hear from everyone, like Mary [Marilou Raham] about empowering students and teachers. Joining the Dream Team Club at Taravella gives them a voice for school safety,” said Alhadeff.
Alhadeff encourages students to sign up for bleed control training and other self-education and security initiatives through Make Our Schools Safe.