Ken Davidson is hoping all the 20-ounce bottles of Pepsi he’s been drinking will soon pay off.
Davidson, Second Alarmers Rescue Squad’s assistant chief of operations, submitted a $50,000 grant application to the Pepsi Refresh program to help cover costs associated with forming a Tactical Emergency Services Team.
Meant as a support for SWAT teams, the Second Alarmers Tactical Emergency Services Team, once established, would assist with “mass violent trauma” incidents, such as school shootings, acts of terrorism or school bus crashes, Davidson said.
“It’s to enhance all trauma care,” Davidson said. “It’s to be prepared for that type of incident.”
And, unlike local and state government funds, the community has the final say—through online votes —on which of the Pepsi Fresh ideas are most deserving of grants.
Currently, the Second Alarmers are ranked 46th nationally. The top 10 ideas in the $50,000 category will receive funding, according to Pepsi’s website.
Without this grant, and since federal grants have already been cut this year, Davidson said plans to start the Tactical Emergency Services Team would likely be postponed.
Davidson estimates that training 10 to12 employees would cost $20,000; buying protective equipment, like body armor and bulletproof vests, would cost $20,000; and medical supplies would cost the remaining $10,000.
As another example, a roll of regular gauze costs about 75 cents, while Davidson said specialty gauze called QuikClot, which helps stop bleeding, costs $35 to $40 per roll.
If the grant is awarded, Davidson said the Tactical Emergency Services Team would be established departmentwide, at Second Alarmers’ stations and coverage areas in Abington, Hatboro, Upper Moreland, Upper Dublin, Jenkintown and Whitpain Township.
On average, Davidson said Second Alarmers respond to two or three calls per month where this advanced training, equipment and medical supplies would be needed.
But, regardless of the number of instances, Davidson said the tactical team and advanced blood-stopping devices like “H” dressings and tourniquets are a definite necessity.
“People die from bleeding to death,” he said.
Second Alarmers Chief Fred Trasatti, a Vietnam veteran who earned four purple hearts, said many of the advanced medical tools being sought were developed by the military, in large part because of the “catastrophic injuries” that soldiers endure. Trasatti, who was shot twice and fragmented twice by mortars, said he had a tourniquet on every time.
“The quicker you can stop the blood loss, the better the survival rate,” Trasatti said. “You’ve got to have this stuff on the truck.”
Davidson said the plan is to provide a full bag of supplies on all four of the supervisor vehicles and a smaller bag on each of the Second Alarmers’ 13 ambulances.
Until June 30, when Pepsi Refresh voting ends, Davidson is staying caffeinated and hoping his purchases of yellow-capped bottles with extra votes will land Second Alarmers a $50,000 grant.
You can vote for Second Alarmers' grant here.