Md. Paramedics and Police Work Together in Active Shooter Drill
June 10—More than 30 Frederick police officers and paramedics acted out scenarios Friday as part of a joint training session to prepare the city's first responders for active-shooter situations.
Frederick's joint "rescue task force" brings together Frederick Police Department officers and Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services paramedics to prepare them to work together in an active-shooter situation.
The joint rescue task force aims to train first responders in the most efficient strategies for stabilizing shooting victims while quickly securing an active shooting scene, police Sgt. Paul Beliveau said.
Officers and paramedics donned tactical gear and nonlethal weapons at a vacant Frederick County Public Schools building on Hayward Road. With limited information on the number of shooters or victims, teams of paramedics followed police officers into the building, quickly assessing threats, clearing rooms and treating injuries.
A large part of the training was to prepare the initial wave of responders to provide lifesaving medical care for civilians and police while securing the scene, said Chief Tom Owens, director of the Division of Fire and Rescue Services.
"They can provide basic care that buys time and saves lives as officers locate all the shooters," Owens said.
That initial medical care can take the form of "self-care" kits, which responsive shooting victims can use to stop their own bleeding and stabilize themselves. In training, paramedics quickly assessed whether victims or nearby people were responsive enough and capable of treating themselves before moving on through the scenario.
"We typically wait for police to call us in. We don't engage hot zones," paramedic Walt Kelch said. "So this is different. We're taking acceptable risks, quickly prioritizing injuries and moving on."
Statistics show this is more likely to increase the number of lives saved in an active-shooter situation, paramedic Christopher Dunn said.
"It's a different procedure than we're used to, but it follows similar principles," Dunn said. "Training with the police, and counting on them to keep us safe while we treat people as they deal with the situation, it's really a great marriage."
All 144 Frederick Police Department officers have trained with county paramedics, department spokeswoman Michele Bowman said. Friday's training was the sixth of seven hourslong sessions of scenarios and instruction.
Follow Cameron Dodd on Twitter: @CameronFNP.
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