Lancaster Co. Schools Now Equipped with Emergency Response Kits for Mass-Injury Events

Lancaster County school resource officers are now equipped with tools for limiting damages and casualties in mass-injury situations, such as large structure malfunctions or active-shooter catastrophes.

The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office purchased starter kits with tourniquets and other emergency-response items, and recently distributed them to school resource officers at a training session in Lititz.

Lancaster city Police Sgt. Michael Gerace told the training group of 17 SROs and other attendees that being prepared for mass-injury scenarios is essential to officers’ personal safety and the safety of communities and schools they serve.

“If you don’t have the mindset, knowledge base and the equipment,” he told the group, “it’s (potentially) a bad day.”

Many of the items and techniques Sgt. Gerace showed the group were not already among their existing daily routines.

For example, Sgt. Gerace urged the group, have a tourniquet on your person every day. They have saved countless lives, include those of peer officers.

Each emergency-response kit includes:

- 5 tourniquets

- 4 chest seals

- 5 bandages

- 1 quick clot gauze

The kits should not be considered comprehensive and ample supply for the long-term, but rather a starting point – and the training session a conversation starter on potentially life-saving ideas and instructions.

The tools are not just for absolute worst-case scenarios, like active shooter incidents, Sgt. Gerace stressed. A bleacher collapse at a sporting event or other large-audience happening could involve such an emergency response.

Sergeant Gerace recalled a recent incident when he was off-duty and came upon a serious vehicle accident in Landisville. He provided aid immediately.

 “I’m glad I had my kit,” Sgt. Gerace said. “You could need it at any time.”

The 17 SROs in attendance for the session at Listrak were given kits for middle school and high school buildings in their districts. Kits will also be distributed to SROs not able to attend the session, ideally with instruction/training.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman committed $7,200 to purchase the kits and training materials.

“That’s pretty significant,” Sgt. Gerace said at Listrak. “I have never heard of a DA’s Office doing that.”

Several Listrak members also attended the training session – as Gerace mentioned, the lessons are not just for police officers.

Following Sgt. Gerace’s hourlong presentation, Detectives Jeff Corcoran and Autumn Lupey of Lower Paxton Township police (Dauphin County), presented “Heroes Talk,” a program created by the Joe Allegrini Children’s Hero Fund. The program was presented as an option for SROs to tailor to their needs and implement here, encouraging students of all ages to talk to a trusted adult (e.g. teacher, police officer, counselor) if they or someone they know are being abused or neglected.

More information on the program is here: http://childrensherofund.org/

A special thanks to Listrak, a Lititz-based technology company, for providing a spacious room and resources for the training.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; bhambright@co.lancaster.pa.us; Twitter: @BrettHambright