In Wake of Sandy Hook, Hospital Provides Law Enforcement Kits

In the days following last month's horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, hospital leaders considered what they could do to help our community respond to and perhaps even mitigate similar catastrophic situations.

Police say Adam Lanza, 20, killed 20 first-graders and six adults in the December 14 massacre at the Newtown, Connecticut school. They say he then killed his mother at the home they shared in Newtown before opening fire with a semiautomatic rifle at the school and killing himself as police arrived.

It's a tragedy that has rocked the world, the nation—and certainly Humboldt County.

"We were so shocked and saddened by the Sandy Hook events," said HGH CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish. "It was such a useless, cruel tragedy, and like many, it made us think of our own community. What if that happened here?"

Parrish said within hours, the hospital's Emergency Medical Services Rescue department suggested donating lifesaving Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs) to area law enforcement agencies.

The kits were originally designed for military soldiers in the field who were likely to encounter two things on the battlefield: severe hemorrhage and inadequate airway.

In a school shooter scenario, the kits give first responders the ability to quickly treat life threatening injuries like catastrophic blood loss, stab wounds, and injuries to the head, chest, and neck.

HGH EMS Rescue Director Pat Songer said providing rapid medical intervention to victims can significantly increase their chances of survival.

For the past three years, HGH EMS Rescue has taught all local law enforcements officers the 16-hour Tactical Combat Causality Course (TCCC), which focuses on what officers should do in the few minutes following a traumatic event such as a gunshot wound.

"We've learned that victims routinely perish while waiting for the arrival of professional Emergency Medical Services," said Songer.

"So if we can get these medical supplies into our officers' hands, it could mean the difference between life and death for victims."

For more information on the Individual First Aid Kits distributed by Humboldt General Hospital to local law enforcers, please call HGH EMS Rescue Director Pat Songer at (775) 623-5222, ext. 260.