Firefighters train to help in mass shootings

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Many fire departments are now required to help police in an active shooter situation.

Firefighters here in central Illinois are training to work alongside law enforcement in case that happens. 
Usually police and firefighters work separately. But in cases like an active mass shooting, departments are preparing to join forces. 

Recently Urbana and Springfield Fire Departments did joint taskforce training to understand what they’ll need to do in case this happens. Champaign Fire Department has been through this training several times and explained why their role is so important to help people who are hurt. 

If a mass shooting happens in central Illinois, fire departments here are training to go into an active shooter situation to help people who are hurt.

C.F.D. Deputy Fire Marshal Randy Smith says, “We had he opportunity to go in and work with mannequins and work with the police department.” 

The C.F.D. firefighters know the drills. They’ve trained with police to follow them into the scene. Smith says, “We work in what’s called the “warm zone” so they’re going to go ahead of us and make sure the scene is safe in that area. Once it’s safe in the area we go in and we move the potential patients.” 

The firefighters’ job is to get people out to the ambulances and to the hospital. But if they need immediate medical attention, fire departments are getting new equipment. Smith says, “We got some of these new kits we carry with us. It streamlines us.” These are much lighter, and less bulky and heavy than the standard medical bags. They have tourniquets, scissors, bandages and other medical equipment. 

Emergency medical treatment is the role these firefighters take on. But they’re also taking a risk following police into that type of danger. Smith says, “We still don’t have weapons and we’re going in and assisting police in this. We’re trying to get those patients out. We aren’t protected like they are. So the communication between us is huge.” They say that’s why training for this is so important. 

The Danville Fire Department is also preparing to go through this training for the first time. That’ll be in November. 

Decatur F.D. went through this training about a year ago.  Mattoon F.D. did its in August.

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