FASTER Saves Lives receives state funding

Now in our fifth year of training school staff, the FASTER Saves Lives program is changing the way schools fulfill their obligation for the safety and security of their staff and students. The class is designed by John Benner of Tactical Defense Institute (TDI), who I believe to be our nation’s top expert on active killers, especially in school environments. It is taught by TDI and Chris Cerino of Cerino Training Group.

By partnering with the best, our program has been recognized by schools, trainers, and law-enforcement from many other states as the best such program in the country. We are humbled by the response and praise from other experts.

Teachers can’t afford world class training, and school districts could not afford to send multiple staff members, and cities could not afford to train and staff trained responders. We can’t afford to keep sending our kids to school and having them slaughtered by active killers while school staff lacked the ability to end the violence, and police were too far away to act in time. The only viable solution was for us to pay for the training, including hotels for school staff that are authorized to carry firearms for the safety of their school.

One of the problems success brings is increased demand. While we are proud at what we have accomplished and provided our schools, we have not been able to raise the money to keep up with increased demand. Giving away our product is the right thing to do, but not a sustainable business model.

The new state budget contains grant money for FASTER Saves Lives training and trauma equipment.

Fiscal year 2018 (which starts July 1, 2017) contains $75,000 for FASTER Saves Lives training and up to $25,000 for schools to purchase trauma kits and supplies to treat trauma injuries. Fiscal year 2019 contains $100,000 for FASTER Saves Lives training, and any unused portion of the $25,000 for equipment will be available.

The total of $200,000 over the two year budget is less than we asked for. It will not even cover one half of our direct expenses. The program is still run by volunteers who donate thousands of hours every year to assist with the training, meet with school boards, answer questions and manage the program.

We are hopeful that the grant combined with support from Buckeye Firearms Foundation will allow us to train all Ohio school staff members who have been selected by their Board of Education/Superintendent to receive FASTER Saves Lives training for the coming two years.

Details on the process will now need to be worked out. We will have further information as it becomes available.

We thank the Ohio legislature for recognizing this outstanding safety program and funding the program enough to allow us to continue to provide training for those districts who are leading the country on safety for their students and staff.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Foundation President, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."

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