Sara Swanson

Manchester Fire Department trains to respond during active shooter situation

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Photo courtesy of Manchester Township Fire Department.

In 1999, twelve students and one teacher died at during the Columbine High School shooting. At that time, EMS and fire fighters would stand by away from the scene until the suspect was incapacitated and the police department cleared each room of the building. This could, and in the case of Columbine did, take several hours. This delay resulted in injured patients not receiving needed lifesaving treatment in a timely manner, and an increased number of deaths.

Before Christmas, Manchester firefighters participated in training at the high school for a situation involving multiple injured patients from an active violent act. This training with specialized equipment allows for a Rescue Task Force, a team made up of of firefighters and police, to enter the building or area prior to police clearing. Fire Chief Bill Scully stated, “By allowing quicker access to injured patients, the outcome will be better. We will still have to wait for police to incapacitate the violent individual(s), but patient access will be in minute’s versus hours.”

The Las Vegas fire department and EMS were trained in this method and during the October shooting, the deadliest mass-shooting committed by an individual in the US, they were able to immediately begin treating the wounded, thereby reducing a potentially higher death count.

Scully elaborated, “Manchester is one of several fire departments in Washtenaw County that have received the training and purchased the equipment–ballistic vests, tactical helmets, and EMS kits built specific for multiple patients from a violent act. As with all of our equipment, we hope never to need it, but we will continue to train for a future violent act.”

Photo courtesy of Manchester Township Fire Department

Photo courtesy of Manchester Township Fire Department

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