COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - While people across the country debate how to keep schools safe, one South Carolina firefighter-teacher duo say a 'Jacob Kit' could save your child's life. It's like a first-aid kit, only with items like a tourniquet, to transform a teacher into a paramedic.
The kit creators have inspired a bill in the State House to require the kits go to schools statewide. When seconds count, these are the tools that kit creators here say should be stored in classrooms.
Angela Byrne has been working inside a classroom for 27 years. But newly near her door is a red kit labeled with the name 'Jacob.' Even elementary students recognize it as the 'Jacob Kit.' It's named after Jacob Hall, who was killed by a school shooter in the Upstate in 2016. The tools inside, like a tourniquet, medical gloves, bandages, tape, scissors, and gauze, make Byrne feel more helpful to her students.
"If someone wants to get into our school, they will. They will. It's about protecting ourselves should that happen," Angela Byrne says.
Firefighter-paramedic Lt. Dan Byrne, also Angela's husband, invented the kit to equip teachers with items a first-responder would use in an emergency, like a school shooting.
"No matter how much we train, no matter how proficient we've become, the one thing we can't overcome is time. And that's the time that a child sustains an injury and the time that an emergency responder is actually kneeling by their side rendering aid," Dan said.
"You know, I could deal with a shooter being in our classroom or in our school. But I cannot deal with the hopelessness of watching one of my students bleed to death when I could have something in place that could buy them some time," Angela said.
Angela feels there are not many measures to truly prevent a shooter from gaining access to do harm…but believes this can keep victims alive after an attack.
While some Beaufort County schools have the kits in classrooms, a bill in the State House would require them in schools across the state, if passed. There's a hearing on that coming up on March 20th.
The Byrnes say the kits cost about $40 but have been supplied to their schools in Beaufort County so far through the Burton Fire District's gr ants and donations.