Austin may train high school students in emergency medical response in school shootings

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A national training program that helped save three lives after the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh last year may make its way into Austin high schools if City Council can put up the money.

The Stop the Bleed program trains bystanders to provide immediate assistance in bleeding emergencies before professional medical teams respond to the scene. The program has picked up in communities across the nation as the threat of mass shootings has grown.

Austin high schools do not participate in the program, but that may change following action by Austin City Council on Feb. 7, which directed the city manager to explore how the city could fund the training program for students across the city.

The method of emergency bleeding response helped save 20 to 30 lives after the Las Vegas mass shooting in October 2017, according to the resolution passed by City Council on Feb. 7.

The Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service squad currently has a program called Explorers Post 247 that trains teens and young adults 14 to 21 years old in emergency medical response. The Explorers program has the infrastructure to bring Stop the Bleed to all Austin high schools but is requesting funding in order to dedicate managerial staff for the program.

When fiscal year 2019-20 budget talks begin to ramp up this spring, the city manager will come back with information on how much funding the program would require, and City Council will decide whether it can fund it.

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Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and USA Today. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
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