SANDY, Utah -- Nation-wide, tactical changes are putting firefighters and paramedics right on the front line of an active shooting scenario. Friday, Salt Lake Community College hosted over 200 first responders for a training session that helped teach this new approach.
Sgt. Nick Street with Utah Highway Patrol told Fox 13 that in the past, medical personnel like firefighters and EMT’s, have been told to sit behind and wait for the call to go into an active shooting scene. Not anymore.
“These firemen are geared up with ballistic vests, ballistic helmets, and they’re going to be working alongside officers to start extracting people from the hot zone or the warm zone where the gunfight may have just recently ensued," Street said.
Officials are calling this group the "Rescue Task Force" and the goal is to get to the victims of an active shooting quicker, but adding more personnel can also make things more complicated.
“Radio traffic is something we have to have, good radio discipline, and that’s something that officers are learning,” Street said.
During the training session Friday, all medical and law enforcement personnel got fully geared up and acted out an active shooter. There were even actors, covered in makeup and fake blood, to make the situation seem more life-like.
Fox 13 spoke to a firefighter whose job just got more intense during a potential active shooting situation. To hear what he has to say about these tactical changes in the news story above.