New Active Shooter Training Could Save Lives

Nov 28, 2018

Tallahassee police officers and fire fighters are learning new techniques to deal with active shooters, and give medical attention to victims.
Credit Shawn Mulcahy / WFSU

Researchers at the University of Miami’s Gordon Center are unveiling a new protocol for active shooter situations. Tallahassee first responders are some of the first to receive this groundbreaking training.

Rescue dummies with missing limbs and open wounds are strewn across the floor. First responders are applying tourniquets to their legs and arms, while others learn to perform CPR. This is the scene at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Havana, Florida. 

Tallahassee police and firefighters have gathered to learn about dealing with active shooters.

It’s become an unfortunate reality for first responders. Mass shootings have devastated the state from Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School, to Pulse Nightclub, to a Tallahassee yoga studio.

Researchers at the University of Miami, along with first responders and the military, have developed a new protocol that they say could save lives.

Tallahassee police officers and fire fighters practice applying a tourniquet.
Credit Shawn Mulcahy / WFSU

Currently, firefighters must remain outside until police give the all-clear, explained Sunrise Fire Department Lieutenant and researcher Steven Carter. This process could take anywhere from a few minutes to hours.

That time could be the difference between life and death. A WMFE and ProPublica investigation into the Pulse shooting found that if firefighters and paramedics had been allowed into the building earlier, up to 16 people could’ve been saved.

With this new model, law enforcement will create so-called ‘warm zones’ as staging areas for medical attention. While they clear the rest of the space, fire rescue and EMS are able start giving victims livesaving care.

Barry Issenberg, Director of the Gordon Center, said the system revolutionizes the way responders deal with traumatic events. The Center previously worked on innovating responses to events like heart attacks and disasters, but in light of the state’s recent mass shootings, Issenberg said it’s time to shift focus.

“The reception has been tremendous, particularly on the law enforcement side," said Issenberg. "For the first time they’re learning how to apply medical care to victims hurt in a mass-casualty incident.” 

Some of the officers present in this session will join the Gordon Center’s training team. In 2019, the center plans to train first responders statewide.