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EMT Emergency Response: How to Respond to an Active Shooter Situation

There seems to be more and more active shooter situations in the news lately. This can be unnerving for the majority of us. Emergency medical service providers or EMTs are among the first to respond to the scene, and they must be fully prepared to help the victims while also staying safe at the same time. As you may guess, there are many obstacles these first responders must overcome to accomplish their jobs. Here are just a few tips you may want to follow to help increase your response efforts and decrease your risk during an active shooter situation.

Stay Safe

The Department of Homeland Security reports that most active shooter situations typically last around ten to fifteen minutes. During this time it is of the utmost importance to consider your safety. As a first responder, you must stay safe. Remember a wounded first responder is not only unable to treat any of the victims but will also become a new victim for other first responders to treat. When an active shooter situation is happening take cover or evacuate as necessary. If you are unsure about the location of the shooter, your best bet is to stay in place and barricade any windows or doors. Use whatever is available to hide and take cover until the scene is safe and secure.

Have and Follow an Emergency Action Plan

Unfortunately, in today’s world, it is necessary to have an Emergency Action Plan and train your staff on how to successfully and safely respond to active shootings. Some important factors to include in your plan are:

  • Detailed guidelines on how to cooperate and interact with police and any other first responders present at the scene.

  • Details on triage plans in case there is an extremely large number of wounded patients.

  • A thorough list of all the supplies and medications necessary to treat the wounded.

  • Details on how to successfully and efficiently coordinate with local hospitals to swiftly treat both critical and noncritical patients.

  • A comprehensive plan for transportation of patients during an unusual transportation situation.

  • An intensive guideline on proper reporting procedures to not only ensure proper patient care but also the health and safety of all EMS workers.

Be Prepared and Plan Ahead

It is virtually impossible to be fully prepared for an active shooter situation. However, if you take the necessary steps and plan for the unthinkable, you may be able to help speed the treatment process and eventually save more lives. There are some steps you can take ahead of time, like inventorying supplies and checking that you have a well-stocked medical supply on hand. During these types of situations, you also must remember that time is of the utmost importance. You need to remove the victim from the scene and into the ambulance as fast as possible.

Responding to an active shooter situation will be extremely hectic and fast-paced. There are so many things that could and may possibly happen. The key to successfully responding to these event relies on how well you have prepared, organized and planned ahead of time. Remember in order to do your job effectively, you must stay safe and alert for the unknown at all times. It will be stressful but staying up to date on all the proper procedures will help keep you safe and ensure you are able to do your job to the best of your abilities.

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