Fairfield won’t get the the federal JAG funds in 2020 because their violent crime stats were too low. However, they’ve applied for federal funds issued to the state. They hope to be able to purchase seven mass casualty kits to be placed in cruiser and strategically around the city. FILE
Photo: Michael D. Pitman
Photo: Michael D. Pitman

Fairfield wants police officers to carry ‘mass casualty’ medical kits

The city is applying to the state of Ohio for leftover Justice Assistance Grant funds. It discovered it was not eligible for the federal JAG funds because its crime statistics were too low.

Federal JAG money not awarded to local jurisdictions is given to the states to disseminate, and Fairfield applied for just more than $18,000 to purchase seven mass casualty medical kits. The kits would be placed in police cruisers and “strategically” around the city, the chief said. The grant requires a 10 percent local match of funds.

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“When it comes to first responders to a mass casualty incident, which usually is a shooting, law enforcement is going to be the first people into the area,” said Maj. Greg Valandingham, who wrote the grant request.

He said medical personnel would wait outside a designated perimeter until law enforcement can secure the area, or enough for medical personnel to start treating people.

“Having those kits, either pre-placed or with the responding officers, (would) allow them to begin treatment to critically injured people much more quickly,” Valandingham said. “They can do some basic critical aid treatment to someone, and then the medics can take it from there.”

Police officers have limited medical supplies in their cruisers’ first aid kits, but Fairfield police Chief Steve Maynard said those would “only treat so many people at a time.”

“With these mass casualty kits, they’re a large bag that have multiple tourniquets in it, multiple pressure bandages, that you can treat wounds that are typical in some kind of mass casualty incident,” he said.

With the kits, the chief said, “you’re going to save more lives” in a mass casualty incident.

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The city’s violent crimes, included in the federal data category of “Part 1” crimes, dipped in recent years.

Total Part 1 crimes have trended downward since 2017 and are projected to continue that trend by the end of 2019, according to a Journal-News analysis of Fairfield police data. Aggravated assaults, burglary, thefts, auto thefts and arsons are projected to be less than 2018, according to the analysis.

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