Saving Lives AND HONORING LAW ENFORCEMENT
Tourniquet drive to honor, ‘Florence 7,’ all law enforcement
BOB SLOAN Editor
Å few months ago Toni Brandt’s mind wandered back to a day that she and the entire Florence community will not soon, if ever, forget.
On the afternoon of Oct. 3, 2018, three officers arrived at a home in the Vintage Place subdivision to serve a search warrant. According to law enforcement reports, as the officers exited their vehicles and approached the house, they were ambushed by someone in the home who began shooting at them with a high-powered rifle.
Reports of “shots fired and officer down” were issued at 4:37 p.m. The suspect, who turned out to be a 74-year-old Vietnam War veteran, barricaded himself in the home along with an unspecified number of children. It took officers about 30 minutes to get an armored vehicle close enough to evacuate the wounded officers.
Hours later, when the standoff had finally come to an end and the suspect placed in custody, the news was shocking: One law enforcement officer dead and six wounded.
Sgt. Terrance Carraway, a 30-year veteran of the Florence Police Department, was killed in the line of duty. One week later, Florence County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Farrah Turner died as a result of the injuries she sustained during the standoff. The law enforcement officers injured during the incident are Florence Police officers Brian Hart, Travis Scott and Scott Williamson, Sheriff’s Department Deputy Arie Davis, and Florence County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Sarah Miller.
Brandt said she is very proud of how the community rallied together in the months that followed. The love and support shown to law enforcement in general, but particularly to the families of the officers involved; the moments of silence held for Carraway and Turner; and the recognition given to the “Florence 7,” during community gatherings and sporting events.
Knowing the anniversary of the tragic event was just a few months away, Brandt wanted to do something to honor the slain, the injured and those still serving, but she wanted to do something tangible that would have a direct impact not only on the law enforcement community, but the entire community.
These are the words of the emails she sent to The News Journal and other media outlets:
“As the anniversary of 10-3-2018 approaches, I began to think of a tangible way that we could honor the law enforcement officers who daily serve us on our very worst days as we remember their very worst day. I had the idea for a tourniquet drive. Most area LEO who carry one of these lifesaving devices do so at their own expense. I know that the community has shown an outpouring of love and support, but as someone who ‘gets it’ a little more than most, I wanted something longer lasting and more all encompassing than a midday meal. Don't get me wrong; those have been appreciated I'm sure!
“(Law enforcement officers) are the crazy kind willing to run toward gun fire, overturned cars, screams and all kinds of uncertainty. And our community is better for them. Many times they will be the first on scene to something that is not actually a ‘police call’ and they will do their best to provide medical support until the other ‘crazies’ - EMS or Fire - can arrive. Currently, the officers who carry tourniquets have done so at their own expense. I hope they never need to use them, but I want them to have a very simple piece of equipment at no cost to them, when they arrive willing to do whatever they can to help someone on their very worst day.”
Brandt set a lofty goal for the drive: To collect 300 tourniquets by Oct. 3, the anniversary of the shooting. The 300 tourniquets, by her estimation, would be enough to equip every member of the Florence Police Department, the Florence County Sheriff's Department, and S.C. Highway Patrol serving Florence County.
The tourniquets are Generation 7 Combat Application Tourniquets (CAT). These are the tourniquets issued to soldiers by the U.S. Army and recommended by law enforcement agencies across the nation. They cost about $30 each and are made by North American Rescue, a company based out of Greer.
The reason Brandt said she ’gets it’ a little more than most,” is because she has been married to a law enforcement officer for the last 21 years.
With the help of Brandt and other Florence Police Department wives, a community business member, and a former law enforcement officer, the drive began July 3. As of today, the drive has had orders or collected enough funds for just under 100 tourniquets.
Brandt is not collecting any money herself. This negates the need for non-profit status. She said those wishing to contribute should order directly from North American Rescue. She said ordering directly from NAR ensures you are giving genuine CAT generation 7 Tourniquets and not one of many knockoffs of lesser quality.
To order directly from North American Rescue, use the link https://www.narescue.com/combat-application-tourniquet-c-a-t.html and have it shipped directly to: T. Brandt, c/o Campbell Accounting Solutions, 1623 Second Loop Rd., Florence, S.C. 29505.
If you wish to purchase one on your own and then donate, North American Rescue will give you law enforcement pricing for this event. To order using the discount, email Brandon Brown, Director of Law Enforcement Programs at bbrown@narescue. com, and he will assist you with your order.
Brandt said she wants people to understand that while the tourniquets are being donated to local law enforcement, they are really being donated to the community at large.
“The tourniquets are really not for them (law enforcement),” said Brandt. “They won’t use them on themselves or their fellow officers, at least we pray they won’t. They will be used to save the lives of community members.”
The Florence Police Department offered this statement on the tourniquet drive.
“For several years prior to Oct. 3, 2018, the Florence Police Department has incorporated tactical medical training into our annual active shooter training. We also have sent several of our officers to basic tactical medical instructor training through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The Police Department supplies our officers with an Individual First Aid Kit or Down Officer Kit with a tourniquet and basic supplies for self-care. Often our officers are the first to arrive on scene where victims have traumatic injuries. Our officers apply their training and equipment to save lives. Many of our officers see the benefit of carrying additional life-saving equipment and go above and beyond in obtaining extra tourniquets and supplies in order to serve their community well. We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from our community. We deeply appreciate their generosity in providing these tourniquets to help us save lives.”