Vancouver police and firefighters have teamed up to announce a new training initiative to provide life-saving medical help during active shooter situations.
The Rescue Task Force will have firefighters wearing body armour escorted into “warm zones” by police. They will then be able to triage wounded people and get them out to waiting ambulances.
“The VPD's top priority will always be stopping the threat,” said Vancouver Police Supt. Steve Eely. “If we co-ordinate better with our emergency service partners, there’s an opportunity to treat and transport the wounded in a more timely manner, and that will ultimately save lives.”
In an active shooter situation, police say it can take anywhere from minutes to hours to deem an area safe.
In the past, emergency medical responders wouldn’t be able to enter until they were given clearance. In that time, shooting victims have been known to bleed out from treatable injuries. Now, firefighters, alongside police, will be able to enter a scene much earlier to help the wounded.
“The difficulties before were getting prompt medical aid and pre-hospital care to patients before they suffered life-threatening injuries or bled out” said Capt. Jonathan Gormick of Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services.
He says those concerns have now been addressed. Victims will be triaged at the scene before being taken out to waiting ambulances for further medical aid.
Training started last fall and so far 400 of Vancouver's 800 firefighters have received the training, as well as 700 VPD officers.
The Vancouver Fire & Rescue Service now has more than 30 kits strategically deployed throughout their fire halls, but hopes the rescue task force never needs to be deployed.