‘We can save a life:’ Back Mountain Police Association donates trauma kits to school districts

By Geri Gibbons - For Times Leader
Kingston Township Police Officer and Back Mountain Police Association President Michael Huntzinger speaks about the distribution of trauma kits at the Kingston Township Municipal Building in Shavertown last week. - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader
Trauma kits are shown on a table before a Back Mountain Police Association meeting at the Kingston Township Municipal Building in Shavertown last week. The kits were donated to Back Mountain school districts to be used during emergency situations. - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader
Dallas Township Police Officer Gina Kotowski hands a trauma kit to Dallas High School principal Jason Rushmore and Dallas High nurse Bonnie Kalish during a recent Back Mountain Police Association meeting in Kingston Township. Standing next to Kotowski is Lehman Township Police Officer Alaisha Sherwood. - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

KINGSTON TWP. – Dallas School District nurse Bonnie Kalish fervently hopes the district will never face an active-shooter situation.

Still, Kalish said it is necessary for school personnel to be prepared for such a scenario to ensure the safety and security of students.

In response to these concerns, Kalish, along with Lake-Lehman School District nurse Karen Muldoon, received four trauma kits each purchased by the Back Mountain Police Association and an anonymous donor. The kits were presented at the association’s monthly meeting this week.

Containing tourniquets, hemostatic agents, pressure dressing and crisis lanyards, the kits will be placed at each of the school district’s buildings under the oversight of a school nurse.

Kingston Township police officer and association president Michael Huntzinger said three members of the association, certified in training for street survival and tactical medicine, would train nurses and other personnel in both Back Mountain school districts in the use of the kits.

Huntzinger said providing the kits reflected the association’s commitment to the community, especially its young people.

He credited Gina Kotowski, resource officer for the Dallas Area School District, with maintaining a good line of communication with district nurses and other personnel, making cooperative efforts a reality.

“Gina’s office is officially at the high school,” Kalish said. “But she’s a staple in all of our school buildings. She’s really K through 12.”

Kalish said Kotowski, of Dallas Township police, goes above and beyond in addressing student safety.

“Last year, she also created a bucket for each classroom,” Kalish said of Kotowski. “Each bucket contains items necessary for students in a lockdown or emergency situation.”

‘Save a life’

Lake-Lehman School District resource officers Jeff Carter and Alaisha Sherwood said their first priority upon entering a school building is safety and security. They also try to build trust with students.

Carter said most of the time, those two goals go hand in hand.

“When students know who you are, they are more likely to share honestly with you about a concern or a dangerous situation,” he said.

Sherwood said it was important to acknowledge that active-shooter scenarios are becoming more common everywhere.

“In schools and all public places, it’s important to be prepared for such situations,” she said.

Lake-Lehman police officer Tyler Wilson noted that school personnel and police both make student safety and security a priority. But because they come from different backgrounds, they sometimes have different perspectives.

“It’s important for both us all to work together,” said Wilson. “We believe that in giving schools these kits, we can save a life.”

Kingston Township Police Officer and Back Mountain Police Association President Michael Huntzinger speaks about the distribution of trauma kits at the Kingston Township Municipal Building in Shavertown last week.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL091418BMPAdonation3.jpgKingston Township Police Officer and Back Mountain Police Association President Michael Huntzinger speaks about the distribution of trauma kits at the Kingston Township Municipal Building in Shavertown last week. Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

Trauma kits are shown on a table before a Back Mountain Police Association meeting at the Kingston Township Municipal Building in Shavertown last week. The kits were donated to Back Mountain school districts to be used during emergency situations.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL091418BMPAdonation2.jpgTrauma kits are shown on a table before a Back Mountain Police Association meeting at the Kingston Township Municipal Building in Shavertown last week. The kits were donated to Back Mountain school districts to be used during emergency situations. Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

Dallas Township Police Officer Gina Kotowski hands a trauma kit to Dallas High School principal Jason Rushmore and Dallas High nurse Bonnie Kalish during a recent Back Mountain Police Association meeting in Kingston Township. Standing next to Kotowski is Lehman Township Police Officer Alaisha Sherwood.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL091418BMPAdonation1.jpgDallas Township Police Officer Gina Kotowski hands a trauma kit to Dallas High School principal Jason Rushmore and Dallas High nurse Bonnie Kalish during a recent Back Mountain Police Association meeting in Kingston Township. Standing next to Kotowski is Lehman Township Police Officer Alaisha Sherwood. Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

By Geri Gibbons

For Times Leader