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    Rescue Task Force focus on saving lives, preparation

    Rescue Task Force focus on saving lives, preparation

    Photo By Wilson Rivera | Rescue Task Force members enter a building with law enforcement officers, who provide...... read more read more



    Story by Wilson Rivera 

    Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

    Sounds of gunfire are a cause for concern, especially in a work environment. Individuals should know what steps to take during an emergency such as an active shooter scenario.

    Training was held May 18 between the Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department and law enforcement officers to enter an active threat or hostile situation with the focus to provide casualty care. A six-man team consisting of two law enforcement officers and four emergency medical technicians, better known as the Rescue Task Force, respond to emergencies.

    The Rescue Task Force is a nationwide initiative by Homeland Security to have a response team capable of entering a mitigated threat area to deliver lifesaving medical aid.

    “We took the tactical combat casualty care model from the Army used on the battlefield and do the exact same thing,” said Assistant Fire Chief John F. Ryan, with Fort Gordon’s DES Fire Department. “Take the medicine to the point of the injury. You can’t wait until the scene is safe. Your battle buddy is going to bleed out, so this is the civilian adaptation to similar events looking like battlefields, establishing tactical emergency casualty care.”

    After 50 years of battlefield data, arterial bleeds are the main cause for loss of life. First responders can’t wait until the entire building is cleared of a threat like the event in Columbine, Colorado.

    “Give me the right PPE (personal protective equipment), helmet, vest. Give me the right training. Give me an incident command structure and that is where fire and EMS are,” said Ryan. “That is what I signed up for.”

    Known as a warm zone after a threat is mitigated, law enforcement personnel with the task force provide safety over EMTs from any other possible secondary threats turning the scene into a dangerous hot situation again.

    EMTs with the task force moved tactically as one unit assembly through the building taking direction from the law enforcement officers in the front and back of the formation. It takes some training for the EMTs to get comfortable working with the law enforcement.

    “We don’t normally work with people who have guns on their hip.” said Ryan. “So, it takes some time to gather confidence in the other agency.”

    The active-shooter exercise started at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation headquarters along Lane Ave. Law enforcement officers responded to a 911 call of gun shots heard inside the building. Rescue Task Force accessed the situation as more gun shots were heard.

    “The personnel in the facility have had training of what to do in this situation, run, hide, fight,” said Tareyon L. Delgado, anti-terrorism officer with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. “They did an outstanding job of locking themselves in.”

    Staff Sgt. Jonathan E. Norton, with the 35th Military Police Detachment, observed and evaluated the first two officers that entered the building and followed the sounds of gun shots. There were more rooms, hallways, and spaces in the building than two officers could cover comfortably.

    “You got to have fortitude to cover areas alone outside your comfort zone,” said Norton. “It’s all about preserving innocent life.”

    The first simulated casualty, located near the entrance, was searched for weapons before continuing farther through the building. To ensure security, unknown whether a victim or adversary, a casualty may be restrained with handcuffs.

    “It sucks, but at the end of the day, our priority of life as a law enforcement officer responding to a similar event is at the bottom,” said Norton. “We’re here to stop innocent people from dying.”

    The task force did a great job of identifying what the casualties’ injuries were, according to Ryan. The first member in the door during the exercise looked at the casualties TRIAGE card that stated arterial bleeding and applied a tourniquet.

    According to Ryan, the focus of the training is not to enter an active-shooter situation to put band aids on a gunshot wound through the hand. The focus is to identify who are the victims that it’s worth the risk of responders going into the warm zone to provide lifesaving aid to a person bleeding to death from a sucking chest wound. A person with arterial bleeding might die in three or four minutes.



    Date Taken: 05.26.2017
    Date Posted: 12.29.2017 09:14
    Story ID: 238182
    Location: FORT GORDON, GA, US 

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