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Thousands of people support students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a rally for gun control at the Florida capitol (2/21/18).The Florida legislature is poised to pass some of the most sweeping gun control and mental health reforms in more than 20 years. The moves come as lawmakers face pressure from students affected by the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.On Valentine's Day, a 19-year-old in Parkland opened fire on his former classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He killed 14 students, three adults, and injured 14 others. There were warning signs, yet, all, including a tip to the FBI, were missed.That day, school safety measures in place, like school resource officers, restricted access and fencing--all failed.In the wake of the shooting, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have mobilized, calling on the legislature to take greater action to prevent school and mass shootings. Lawmakers, it seems, are finally listening.https://youtu.be/6PRPEfu7WPg

New Active Shooter Training Could Save Lives

Active shooter training
Shawn Mulcahy

Researchers at the University of Miami’s Gordon Centerare 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 has 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.

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

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 ProPublicainvestigation into the Pulse shooting found that if firefighters and paramedics had been allowed into the building earlier, up to 16 people could have 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. 

Shawn Mulcahy is a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU. He graduated from Florida State University in 2019 with majors in public relations and political science. He was previously an intern at WFSU, and worked as an Account Coordinator at RB Oppenheim Associates.