JACOB Kit expands to Burton middle schools

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With installation of bleeding control kits in Whale Branch Middle School last week, the JACOB Kit program has now expanded to cover every elementary and middle school classroom in the Burton Fire District.  

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, Burton Fire District firefighters, Beaufort County EMS personnel, and local retired CIA officer Ed Lovette installed 45 bleeding control kits in Whale Branch Middle School, placing them in classrooms, the cafeteria, media center, gym, and select offices. Emergency crews did the same at Robert Smalls International Academy on Feb. 19, completing both middle schools in the Burton Fire District.  

This program is named after 6-year-old Jacob Hall, who died from wounds sustained during a 2016 school shooting in Townville, S.C. Jacob died due to massive blood loss, according to doctors who treated him.  

Since the program’s launch at Broad River Elementary School in August 2015, more than 300 kits have been installed in every elementary school and middle school classroom within the Burton Fire District, and all of the teachers and staff at each school have received training from Burton paramedics on how to stop major bleeding and treat critical wounds. Burton Fire Chief Harry Rountree states that this program gives the teachers the skills and resources to keep wounded children and teachers alive until his forces, along with Beaufort County EMS, arrive on scene.  

“When fire trucks and ambulances are minutes away, seconds count,” Rountree said.  Burton fire officials began the program in elementary schools first, and then the middle schools next, because children at those ages have less blood volume, and can bleed out quicker than older children. Chief Rountree says he plans on expanding the program to both Whale Branch and Battery Creek high schools.  

In cooperation with the Beaufort County School District, the Sheldon Fire District, Beaufort/Port Royal Fire Department, Lady’s Island/St Helena Fire District, and the Bluffton Fire District, have also installed JACOB Kits in both public and private schools within their jurisdictions. 

Rountree says what makes this program special is that it has been community supported and driven, with no cost to the school district or taxpayers. The expansion into the middle schools was made possible through a Coastal Community Foundation grant, a donation from Beaufort Lowe’s and Washington National Insurance, and individual donations from local residents.  

“The community rallied behind this program and our students’ safety and made this possible,” Rountree said. “This is a community program.” 

Burton fire officials say more donations are needed to expand the program into the high schools and anticipate needing approximately 200 kits. Kits cost $47 each, but officials say any donation is helpful.  

People wishing to donate to the program can email safetyed@burtonfd.org or call the Burton Fire District at 843-255-8011. 

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