SURING, Wis. (WBAY) - Teachers add new equipment to their classrooms and undergo special training this summer to keep students safe or help the injured if there's an active shooter.
Approximately 400 students attend Suring Public Schools each year.
"I think any time anybody in the community can step up, whether it's in your workplace or in the street, it's very helpful," says Jenny Breed, Suring Public Schools kindergarten teacher.
As schools prepare to start another year, in addition to new structural security measures, many are taking steps to train staff how to save lives or stop the bleed if there are serious injuries in a school shooting or similar incident.
Through a partnership with local EMS, police and hospitals, the Regional Trauma Advisory Council (NEW RTAC) is equipping and training thousands of teachers in Northeast Wisconsin.
Rural schools say there's no question they need to do this.
"Sometimes it's tough conversations. There's people who are like, well, we don't want to talk about school shooters, or we don't want to talk about these kinds of things," says Pamela Berg, principal at Suring Public Schools. "I think as a school, if you want to put safety first, you have to put everything you possibly can in the hands of your people."
And that's exactly why Berg jumped at the chance to have medical kits placed in every classroom and other busy areas of Suring Schools.
The kits contain gauze, tourniquets and other medical supplies teachers, staff or community members would need to stop the bleed and save a life before emergency responders could arrive.
"Nowadays, you just never know," says Breed.
The kindergarten teacher was the first to sign up for training on how to use the equipment and help in an emergency.
"Now you can have the kit and go right into action, and you don't have to think, oh my goodness, what would I do? Or what should I do? The training is there," she says.
Several months ago, Action 2 News showed you a new initiative to train thousands of teachers in our area how to respond if there are serious injuries from an active shooter or other major disaster in those critical moments before police or EMS arrive.
Through a partnership, RTAC and citizenAID North America, a program that trains the public to help injured people in critical incidents, are equipping teachers with both training to stop the bleed and the equipment they need to do it.
Suring Public Schools are one of the first to roll out the program.
NEW RTAC coordinator Dave Taylor says all schools in Oconto County are participating, along with many others across the region, calling this a critical safety net every community needs.
"To get that piece of equipment into the hands of citizens and citizenAID is going to save lives and to get it into every classroom, where you don't know where you're going to have an incident, is paramount to save lives," says Taylor.
And they all agree it's especially important to equip rural areas with life-saving measures.
"The response times in rural areas are sometimes outside of what we'll be able to save a life, and this opportunity for citizens, like CPR, to be able to simply save a life, is just incredible," says Chief Deputy Ed Janke with the Oconto County Sheriff's Office.
"You've got to be prepared. You've got to be proactive, and have to trust your law enforcement," says Berg. "And our law enforcement is telling us that this is just one more step, one more thing we can do, so that if the unimaginable happens, we're ready."
"The first school to get it from our program, that is paid for, is my high school alma mater, so it's a very big deal," says Taylor. "To see that the public citizens are encompassing this equipment into the classrooms and be able to use the stop the bleed programs is going to save lives."
"Hopefully you never need it, but it's there if you do," says Breed.
RTAC is fundraising in order to buy more medical kits for additional schools.