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  • Writer's pictureEric Liddle

Bay Area Police, Fire, EMS, and Government Agencies collaborate in active shooter training exercise

Coast Guard Helecopter

Over the past two weeks, Bay Area Public Safety personnel across multiple agencies, rank, and government branches participated in a collaborative Crisis Management Response Training. active shooter training

The course, conducted by The Raytom Group, prepares emergency responders for society’s worst-case scenarios to ensure effective, efficient collaboration between public servants and downstream collaborators such as EMS, Fire, and local Healthcare agencies.

Law enforcement officers in tactical gear, readying to engage in an active shooter drill scenario.
Law enforcement officers prepare to enter the scene of the drill

At the time of publication, April 18, 2023, there have been 164 mass shooting events in the United States with little hope for respite.

As an EMS partner, Royal Ambulance EMTs were deployed to provide emergency support throughout the training exercise. Acting as 2nd on the scene, the EMTs assisted Police officers by transitioning the officer’s life-saving duties to licensed EMS professionals before transporting patients to the nearest and appropriate healthcare facility.

Royal Ambulance EMTs assisting mock victims during the drill, with a Coast Guard helicopter approaching in the background.
Royal Ambulance EMTs evacuate drill victims off-site as a Coast Guard helicopter arrives on the scene.

Royal Ambulance EMTs evacuate drill victims off-site as a Coast Guard helicopter arrives on the scene.

EMS plays a critical role in safely and expeditiously transporting patients away from an active shooter event. Both upstream collaboration with police officers and downstream collaboration with hospitals can be the difference between life and death for patients so there is no margin for error. Cross-agency collaboration is at the core of the training, breaking down communication silos that have resulted in catastrophic events in the recent past.

Conducted at Golden Gate Fields in Berkley, CA, the training was based loosely on the Robb Elementary Investigative Committee Report which outlined multiple failures, including providing Basic Life Support, Leadership, and Scene Management which the training addressed.

Two men practicing gun shooting in a large room.
Police officers move through the drill clearing rooms and triaging victims

Police officers move through the drill clearing rooms and triaging victims

Over the course of the next hour, hundreds of law enforcement officers arrived at the scene. The scene was chaotic, without any person obviously in charge or directing the law enforcement response...” (Investigative Committee On the Robb Elementary Shooting, 2022, pg. 79)

The report goes on to say:

It is likely that most of the deceased victims perished immediately… However, given the information known about victims who survived through the time of the breach and who later died on the way to the hospital, it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait 73 additional minutes for rescue.” (Investigative Committee On the Robb Elementary Shooting, 2022, pg. 80)

A team of police officers and paramedics attending to an injured man.
Royal Ambulance EMT R. Valencia leads mock life-saving intervention alongside local police and company

It may come as a surprise to many, but Police officers are not trained with Basic Life Saving (BLS) skills and while it is a well-known growth path for EMTs to move into law enforcement careers, the training and skills developed in EMS are often the only life-saving training that officers have. By training officers with BLS skills, they will be able to better identify medical emergencies and provide medical interventions while in the field.

Although Royal Ambulance is primarily focused on serving healthcare systems and facilities, it is imperative that we are prepared in the event of a worst-case scenario. We appreciate this opportunity to enhance skill development for our team, play a role in supporting our local community, and assist our public safety officers.

This in particular is a call we hope to never take.

Two men reenacting an emergency situation.
Victims (actors) spared no drama as they were pulled from the building

EMT M. Verzosa of Royal Ambulance providing first aid to a mock victim during the training exercise.
Royal Ambulance EMT M. Verzosa applies pressure to an evacuated victim

EMTs with a helicopter in the background

Thank you to the Raytom Group and all of the officers involved in the training, it was an honor to work alongside you

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