David Tomihiro receiving an award from the BSD Safety and Security Department

In December 2018 David Tomihiro, an English teacher at Bellevue High School, attended the Bellevue School District’s Safety Academy training. At that time, he did not know that six months later he would be utilizing those skills in a real-life emergency.

Tomihiro was camping in June of last year at a friend’s cabin in Baring, WA – an unincorporated King County community on the South Fork of the Skykomish River. While enjoying the early summer weather, they heard a loud noise. Tomihiro instantly knew that someone was injured. He grabbed the medical supplies he had with him and ran toward the area where they heard the loud bang to find a man on the ground, bleeding from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tomihiro acted quickly to place a tourniquet on the victim’s leg and then held his hand while they waited for first responders. “When seconds count, help is minutes away,” Tomihiro said. “For me, it was 21 minutes.” He sat in the mud holding the victim’s hand for over twenty minutes.

“The little I was able to do was effective enough to save a guy’s life,” Tomihiro said. “It was life-changing, and it could have gone so much worse.” Tomihiro credits the positive outcome to the training he received at BSD’s Safety Academy. He explains that his reaction and knowledge did not come from years of experience, instead, it was the hour he spent with Safety and Security Department staff in December. Tomihiro knows that without that training he would have likely watched someone bleed to death in the woods.

“One of the things I think is special about the district is how they value education and they put their efforts there,” said Tomihiro. “I think when it comes to safety or equity were always at the forefront because we authentically care.” The Bellevue School District’s Safety and Security team currently provides more than 15 training courses to BSD staff. Courses include, but are not limited to Safety Academy, Incident Command System, Earthquake Readiness, Active Threat and Disaster Medical. Safety and Security also provides drills in schools (required by BSD Policy and Washington State law). For more information on training and drills please visit the Safety and Security Department Webpage.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.