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Highland Lakes Elementary gets lifesaving tourniquets

John Ortis, Steve Zbranek, Leslie Talamantes, Tim Campbell

Granite Shoals Fire Chief Tim Campbell (right) organized the donation of 100 tourniquets to Highland Lakes Elementary School. The donation came after Campbell learned Marble Falls Independent School District teachers had Stop the Bleed training but not the tourniquets necessary to apply it effectively. Police Chief John Ortis (left), Granite Shoals Airport Advisory Committee President Steve Zbranek, and Highland Lakes Elementary School Principal Leslie Talamantes pose for a photo alongside Campbell. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Highland Lakes Elementary School is now stocked with lifesaving tourniquets thanks to the efforts of Granite Shoals Fire Chief Tim Campbell, the fire department’s auxiliary, and the city’s Airport Advisory Committee. Donated on Wednesday, Nov. 2, the tourniquets will be distributed across the Granite Shoals campus and used in case of serious injury to students or staff.

When Chief Campbell learned that all Marble Falls Independent School District teachers had received Stop the Bleed and CPR training in 2022 but no campus had tourniquets, he decided to take action.

According to Campbell, the district had not purchased tourniquets due to budget constraints. Tourniquets cost between $28 and $35 each and hundreds would be needed to supply every campus.

“That’s not acceptable,” Campbell said. “We’re going to at least take care of Highland Lakes (Elementary).” 

Campbell then used his fire department connections with a medical supply company to purchase an adequate number of tourniquets for $6 each. He estimated that 100 would fully supply Highland Lakes Elementary, leaving him with a $630 bill, including shipping.

The Granite Shoals Airport Advisory Committee donated $500 after Campbell attended a committee meeting and asked for members’ support.

“We wanted to find things that we could do to help the community,” committee President Steve Zbranek said. “We just saw it as another opportunity to build goodwill for everything else we’re trying to do for the airport.”

The Granite Shoals Fire Auxiliary gave the remaining $130, and Campbell placed the order.

“I think this is just evidence of the partnership that Marble Falls ISD has with Granite Shoals in general but, specifically, with Granite Shoals fire and police,” said Highland Lakes Elementary Principal Leslie Talamantes.

Tourniquet demonstration
Granite Shoals Fire Chief Tim Campbell demonstrates how a tourniquet works on the arm of Police Chief John Ortis. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Tourniquets can quickly and efficiently stop blood loss by wrapping around an injured leg or arm and squeezing large blood vessels. The speed at which bleeding is stopped is crucial, Campbell said.

“Seconds count,” he said. “When you’re bleeding out, every split second is critical.”

The tourniquets are the latest effort by the city of Granite Shoals to increase safety and security at the elementary school. A military surplus Humvee was outfitted for use by an incoming school resource officer at Highland Lakes Elementary, which will be the first MFISD elementary school to have one, according to Talamantes.

“Chief Campbell and I have been working together for over a decade now,” Police Chief John Ortis said. “My hat goes off to him for taking the initiative when he found out about the shortage of tourniquets.”

Ortis said all of his officers have gone through Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training to prepare them for active shooter situations.

School safety has become a major priority for the city in light of mass shootings like the one at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in May.

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