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Active Shooter/Rescue Task Force

Active Shooter Training Take-Away


This paper is to help cover any topics that may have been missed or brought during the one-on-one instruction.  Again most of what we discussed is “Theory” meaning I have not physically done or experienced this but if we are at least creating some mental plans, we are removing some potential stumbling blocks. 


Several people asked what the expectation is regarding documentation for this incident.  As of right now, our expectation is low.  Meaning your priority should be the highest level of stabilization/treatment and coordinating transport for these critical patients.  If documentation hinders this in any way, it is not in the best interest of the patient.  The START triage tags to count as a legal document and can be used as such.  It makes sense to me that if the Treatment Group has enough people to have a “Scribe,” they can use an EPCR to collect names and DOB’s of patient’s and use the “ADD NEW PATIENT” tab to collect as much info on as many patient’s as possible.  Again, just a thought

The Hemorrhage Runner 

An idea that came out of the Vegas Shooting was the use of a “Hemorrhage Runner.”  These are EMS personnel paired with Officer’s whose main priority is finding and stabilizing the patient who may bleed to death before Triage methodically makes their way through the scene.  This is something that we practiced in a drill and both Cops and Firefighters liked the practice. Must be done safely and I would choose a seasoned EMT/Medic and equally seasoned Officer since they will be functioning in small teams.

HALO Chest Seals

When I began this training I did not know that we now carry both Vented and Non vented chest seals.  We do and the difference is clearly marked.  Same rules apply to both pair.  

Officers On Duty

One crew asked “How many Officers are on duty at any given time?”  PVPD has 3 different shifts and varying levels of coverage.  Dayshift has 5-7 officers, Swings(a bridge between Day and Night Shift) has 7-10, and night shift has 5-6.  There is some overlap between the shifts and during regular office hours there are 6-8 Detectives and additional Traffic Officers who will also respond to major incidents. 


Another question that was asked is “Is there a special term or phrase that Dispatch is listening for like ‘Working Fire’ to activate additional resources?”  The answer as of now is no.  Because of the unique possibilities presented by this incident, no cookie-cutter plan will fit all scenarios.  If you need more resources or special equipment, ask for it clearly.
AMR and other Agencies- The most common discussion topic is “Are other agencies on board with this training?”  As of right now, our priority is to ensure that all CAFMA Operations personnel are trained and then we will reach out to our partners and have a discussion.  The Rescue Task Force concept is not something that we created but is internationally taught to First Responders with general guidelines that can be adapted to fit local policies and response guidelines.


This topic is always at the heart of all issues or challenges.  

-RADIO- As for our radio traffic during this kind of event, there isn’t an easy way to talk to the PD side via radio.  The recommendation is we will use our Tac channels to speak with other units (Ops, Staging, Division, etc.) and if communication is needed with LE, it will be relayed through Dispatch or at the Unified Command Post.

-FACE TO FACE- When working directly with LE as the Rescue Task Force, Extrication, or any other involvement Face to Face is paramount.  Although we all speak English, we don’t speak the same language.  Our terminology is different and that can lead to miscommunication and huge issues.  When assigned to LE, you must obtain some sort of briefing and make sure you understand the mission and parameters!  Good questions to ask if the answers aren’t initially provided would be…

“What is our Task or assignment?”  This will help you prepare yourselves and equipment.  There may be different crews doing different tasks so be sure you know yours.  These could be Triage, Treatment, Extrication ect.

“Where is the Hot Zone and where is the Warm Zone?”  This is a big one!  We DO NOT operate in the Hot Zone.  We do not have the equipment or training and us being there could make a horrible situation worse.  Make sure you and your crews know these Zones.

“How will we move to the target?”  This question will tell you how you will physically move as a unit.  We often moved as a ‘blob’ with the LE providing cover/protection outside and Fire in the middle.

“What is the plan should we take fire?”  This addresses what the contingency plan is.  Although we will be operating in a warm zone, it can become a Hot Zone quickly.  Knowing what LE plans to do is a great idea.

A benefit to asking these questions is that it gets both groups on the same page.  Do not be shy about asking questions because assume things in this scenario will get someone killed.


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