Communication Is Key for EMS Response to Active Shooter Incidents

Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman reports live from the 2013 Eagle Creek retreat in Dallas

 

 
 
 

A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P | From the Live Coverage of 2013 Eagles Conference Issue


How should we in EMS handle active-shooter event responses?

1. Do we go in? 
2. Under what circumstances do we go in? 
3. Who do we go in with?

Those are some of the key questions the Eagles/EMS medical directors addressed at the Eagles conference in an intense discussion of active shooter incidents with which their agencies have been involved.

Jon Jui, MD, from Portland, reported that his regional EMS system has decided that fire fighters will enter Mall and other confined, but police-secured, areas and extract injured parties at active shooter incidents that are declared under control by law enforcement, and leave the ambulance/transport personnel/vehicle outside, positioned/staged to transport rapidly.

In Philadelphia, Crawford Mechem, MD, reported that the police are using some of their EMTs and paramedics as advanced team responders.

James Augustine, MD, reported that the Atlanta Police Department found it beneficial to pair firefighters with police officers as they “cleared” an entire Courthouse because of the expertise of firefighters in performing rapid room searches--with proper police protection provided.

Brent Myers, MD, reported that Wake County (N.C.) developed an active shooter EMS/police protocol in close cooperation with their law enforcement agencies and will continue to drill with and test it.

At the end of the article, you can download the following:
• The Wake County EMS Protocol on Active Shooting Incident Response; and
• Informative slide show and notes from the North County Department of Justice/Attorney General’s Office.

Chris Cowell, MD, medical director of Denver Health, reported that the major issue at incidents are communications (inundated and multiple frequencies) complicate and confuse when and where EMS vehicles and personnel should move, position and transport from.

It was agreed by the medical directors that this is the key area. They agreed that clear-cut communications, as well as command, control, response, activation and positioning parameters need to be addressed and resolved between EMS/fire department prior to an active shooter iIncident.

EMS systems and media outlets represented at Eagle Creek include:
Acadian Ambulance Service
Albuquerque, N.M.
American Medical Response
Anchorage, Alaska
Grady EMS in Atlanta
Austin, Texas
Boston
Chicago
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Dallas
Denver, Colo.
El Paso, Texas
Federal Bureau of Investigations
Ft. Worth, Texas
Greenville, S.C.
Honolulu, HI
Houston
Indianapolis
Journal of Emergency Medical Services
Kansas City, Mo.
London
Louisville. Ky.
Memphis, Tenn.
Miami
Milwaukee, Wis.
Minneapolis, Minn.
Nashville, Tenn.
New Orleans
Fire Department of New York (New York City)
Oklahoma City, Okla
Orange Cty, Fla.
Philadelphia
Phoenix
Portland, Ore.
Raleigh/Wake County, N.C.
Salt Lake City
San Antonio, Texas
San Francisco
St. Louis
St. Paul, Minn.
Tucson
Tulsa, Okla.
Washington, D.C.
Wichita, Kan.

 




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Related Topics: News, Operations and Protcols, EMS Medical Directors, EMS medical direction, Eagles Coalition, Eagle's Retreat

 
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A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P, has a background as an EMS director and EMS operations director. He specializes in MCI management.

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