Joint Press Release from Bristol Virginia Public Schools and the Bristol Virginia Fire Department
Our hearts were broken, yet again, when we were heard the news out of California that another school shooting had occurred. As we pray for the families affected there and for the safety of our students in Bristol Virginia Public Schools, we also have another daunting reminder that we need to constantly be reviewing and updating our school safety plans.
News articles are reporting that teachers and first responders were able to provide first aid to some victims because the school was equipped with “Stop the Bleed” kits. Even though, the focus of our safety plans are on a preventative approach, we are pleased to announce a partnership with Bristol Virginia Fire Department that will place 10 “Stop the Bleed” Kits in our 6 schools. Our prayer is that they will never be used, but in case of the unimaginable, we will be prepared.
“The Bristol, VA Fire Department welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Bristol, Public Schools (BVPS) to provide these “Stop the Bleed” kits and also provide training to school staff. These ten kits were purchased with funds obtained from a local Wal-Mart grant. This is a good start, but many more are needed. We hope to obtain more kits for each school as funds become available”, stated Bristol, VA Fire Chief Mike Armstrong. According to data from the FBI, in 2018 there were 27 “active shooting” incidents in the United States. Blood loss has been identified as one of the most common, preventable causes of active shooting fatalities. A shooting victim can die from blood loss in five to ten minutes. These kits are designed to be used by school staff while the Police and Fire Departments are responding to the scene of the incident. Chief Armstrong also states that the Bristol, VA Fire Department plans to offer this type of training to the public in the near future, just like CPR is offered.
Additionally, Bristol Virginia Public Schools is currently updating our facilities to ensure that we are providing the safest possible environments for our students and staff. A safety vestibule has been installed at Van Pelt Elementary and Highland View Elementary is scheduled to have a similar barrier installed in the coming weeks. Later this school year, vestibules will be added at Washington-Lee Elementary and Stonewall Jackson Elementary. Plans are also being developed to improve safety at our Middle and High Schools. In addition, we are currently studying how a portable metal detector might be used on a random basis and in situations where we have a reported or potential threat. As always, we welcome suggestions from our stakeholders as to how we can make our schools as safe as possible.