When Amy Hamrick’s 5- and 8-year-old children asked her why they were dressed as superheroes for school last Memorial Day, she paused, then decided to tell them why.
She told them they were memorializing 6-year-old Jacob Hall, who died after a gunman opened fire at Townville Elementary School on Sept. 27, 2016. A bullet struck a main artery in his thigh.
“I thought, what can I do to prevent preventable deaths?” Hamrick said.
Hamrick is the trauma program manager for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, and she has seen her share of victims who bled to death. And so she wrote a grant proposal for “Stop the Bleed” kits that contain tourniquets, one for every Upstate public school.
“If one person is saved, we’ve done our justice,” she said.
Hamrick's proposal was picked up by three other regions, and the South Carolina HealthCare Preparedness Coalition approved a final grant of $1.2 million. The other participating systems are Medical University of South Carolina, Palmetto-Richland and Grand Strand.
Not only will Upstate schools get the kits, but all public schools statewide will get them — 19,000 in all, Hamrick explained Wednesday in announcing the arrival of kits and training.
Each school will receive an average of eight kits. Some schools already have them, she said.
Each kit contains a tourniquet, medical gloves, bandages, gauze, scissors, tape and unlimited online licenses for training videos.
Hamrick’s trauma team has already begun training school officials at High Point Academy, she said.
She said hoping that a mass shooting, like the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, never happens here.
But if it does, she said schools will be prepared, and the kits could save lives.
“You can die in four minutes from hemorrhaging,” she said.
The kits will be distributed before the start of the school year in the fall. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control is responsible for delivering the kits.
Hamrick said that the key to wrapping a tourniquet around a limb is placing it above the wound, so that it stops the blood flow and allows the blood to continue circulating throughout the body.
A “Stop the Bleed Day” event is planned for 2 to 4 p.m. March 30 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 31 at WestGate Mall to demonstrate how people can stop bleeding in an emergency.
A bill has been introduced in the state House that would require all public schools to have bleeding control kits, train employees and incorporate the kits in their emergency plans and drills.
Hamrick said she plans to show her support of the bill at an upcoming subcommittee meeting at the Statehouse.