By Shawn Chitnis

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Staff at Newton Middle School spent part of their Tuesday training to use tourniquets for the second year, as leaders say it is a necessary step before students to return to classes later in the week.

“With the current climate that we have right now with the shootings, it’s sad to think about but it’s certainly a possibility,” said Deputy Rob Dahlberg with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, the school resource officer at Newton. “The techniques, the concepts are pretty simple that anyone can do so I’m glad to see that expand further.”

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The goal is to help staff treat injuries before someone can get to the hospital. It could also be a skill needed during accidents from school related injuries like shop class. It was a training Dahlberg received as a member of the sheriff’s office and he believed would be valuable for schools to adopt as well.

“If something did occur here, would we be ready for it, and our response was probably not,” said James O’Tremba, the principal at Newtown. “This is our second day back with teachers, it’s not the ideal subject to broach.”

When Dahlberg approached O’Tremba about bringing the training to his school, he saw the importance in making sure all staff could treat injuries and they discussed having tourniquet kits in every classroom. Thanks to funding from the district, every teacher will have access to one during the school year.

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“Our staff feels it’s important and it’s a valuable training for them,” O’Tremba said. “Our focus is really safety and students and what’s best for them.”

Dahlberg makes it clear during the training that using a tourniquet, stuffing gauze into a victim’s wound, or even putting pressure on a part of the body that is bleeding will be uncomfortable. It may be difficult for the person performing the treatment and it will be painful for the victim regardless.

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“Shootings in schools or emergencies in schools, they’re not pleasant but they’re reality now and we have to be as ready as we possibly can,” the principal said.

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He hopes other schools and districts consider the training and get to a place where they are using it on their campuses. He knows it’s especially difficult for students to accept that this will be necessary for the school year. But the feedback so far has shown an appreciation for a new tool to help staff be better prepared.

“I think our community and our students feel safe coming here too knowing we are constantly thinking about these things,” O’Tremba said.

Shawn Chitnis

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