Preparing for the Unthinkable; Roxbury Chief Wants Trauma Kits in Schools

Roxbury Police Chief James Simonetti speaks to Roxbury Rotarians
A Tramedic kit Credits: Griffin Logistics

ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury’s schools would get kits containing medical equipment that could saves lives during traumatic incidents, such as shootings, under a plan discussed today by the town’s police chief.

The “Tramedic” systems proposed by Roxbury Police Chief James Simonetti contain items not normally found in first-aid kits. For example, they include items designed to deal with massive bleeding, broken bones, large chest wounds, serious burns, eye injuries and compromised breathing.

Speaking before the Roxbury Rotary Club, Simonetti said that talking about such kits is an unfortunate necessity “with the current trend in active shooters and critical incidents in schools.”

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Simonetti said it will cost about $5,000 to equip all Roxbury schools with two of the kits. He said the police department would come up with $2,500 and he asked the Rotary to consider funding the balance. Roxbury Rotary Club President Steve Alford said he supports the idea and promised to discuss it with a club committee.

Simonetti said he discussed the idea with Acting Roxbury Schools Superintendent Loretta Radulic. “She’s all for it,” he said. “She wants to present it to the school board, but she’s 100 percent behind it.”

The kits come with instructional material designed to be easily understood during emergency situations. “What’s nice about these kits is they’re very self-explanatory,” said Simonetti. “They’re very easy to use because they break it down for everybody and it’s self-contained.”

The chief acknowledged that untrained people in the school might be reluctant or scared to use the equipment. “If somebody at the school is uncomfortable using it, at least I know that, when my guys go through the door, at least this kit’s there. It’s just a great, great piece of equipment to have in the school.”

Should the kit purchases occur, Roxbury would be the first school district in Morris County to have them, said Simonetti. “This is not about trying to get notoriety,” he said. “It’s trying to have a product in the school, a product I don’t want to ever use, but it’s there. We have fire extinguishers in schools. We have defibrillators in patrol cars. So we’re prepared, but we don’t have this casualty equipment.”

Additionally, Simonetti said the police department wants to offer new training for schools to use in the event of active shooters. Unlike current procedures, the “ALICE” (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) system does not recommend hunkering down in buildings during shooting incidents, he said.

“It’s a different approach to lockdowns,” said Simonetti. “You no longer close the door and pray that the guy doesn’t come through that door.” ALICE recommends escaping buildings if possible. “We’re learning that maybe sheltering in place is not a good thing,” said the chief.

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