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Emergency Management 8


Recommendation

Texas should offer training to teachers, school administrators, and students to provide immediate emergency medical assistance to those injured in emergencies.


Summary

In the wake of numerous school shootings and increased gang activities in the past few years, schools have developed programs to train administrators, teachers and students in conflict resolution, dealing with student violence, and keeping schools drug free – in short, training in solving internal problems. The events of September 11 have highlighted the need for better emergency planning in schools for external threats that could be much larger in scale.

Improved emergency planning requires more training in disaster response and emergency medical assistance. The number of people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic first aid varies by district and campus. To increase the number of well trained staff in Texas school districts, the state should establish a statewide emergency medical training network for schools through the state’s regional education service centers and the Texas State Telecommunications Access Resource (T-STAR) network.

T-STAR is a satellite network that allows school districts to receive educational programs free or at a low cost. When T-STAR was established in 1989, school districts were provided money to install a T-STAR satellite dish and receiver and almost every school district did so. School districts are supported by the T-STAR Information and Training Center in Richardson, and the state’s regional Education Service Centers provide additional local support. There is no charge for using the system, although some program providers charge a fee.

The programming provided varies widely and several programs are offered each afternoon during the school week. Classes for October 2001 include safe schools training, technology tips, family friendly schools, health science technology curriculum, Texas migrant education, Texas Education Agency mediation services and many others.

Use of the T-STAR network is not limited to school districts. Local communities are allowed access to the satellite system. In Teague ISD, the satellite system has been used to train election judges on new election laws and to train nurses about tuberculosis. In both cases, the school district provided rooms in a school as well as the satellite network.[1]

Training videos on disaster response and basic first aid are available from the Red Cross for a minimal fee. Disaster preparedness experts who are able to teach classes are also available at the University of Texas, Texas A&M and the National Guard. These videos and classes could be broadcast for free over the T-STAR network to local school districts for training.

The Texas Education Agency should also work with the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management to apply for federal emergency management funds to be distributed to the regional Education Service Centers to coordinate CPR classes that require personal interaction for quality training.


Fiscal Impact

There would be no significant cost to the state to provide training over the T-STAR network. The satellite network is already established and provided to school districts free of charge and the video costs would be nominal.

The estimated cost of providing CPR and basic first-aid training cannot be estimated, because it is an optional training and demand is unknown. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides grants to state and local governments, and the President’s $40 billion relief package may provide some funding.


[1] T-STAR Network, “T-STAR Team Spirit!”: http://www.t-star.org/teague.html.