Preventing an active shooter from killing people and saving lives was the goal of Rutherford County emergency responders who completed an Active Threat Integrated Response Course last year.
More than 740 law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics working in Rutherford County were trained based on the rescue task force approach, said Sheriff's training Lt. Chris Kauffman, who coordinated the course. The unified training is unprecedented because all agencies are participating and learning together.
In past response to active shooters, law enforcement officers searched for the shooter while firefighters and paramedics staged outside until the scene was safe, resulting in victims dying while waiting for medical help.
With the rescue task force concept, law enforcement officers apply tourniquets to stop the bleeding, assess the victims' injuries and determine what medical resources are needed.
The officers accompany fire and medical personnel in to treat and evacuate victims before the scene is completely cleared of the active threat with the goal of improving saving victims' lives.
"We hope to accomplish a standardized response that allows us to utilize the rescue task force concept to save as many people as we can in the event of an active shooter," Kauffman said. "What that is creating is a standard of training throughout the county with law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services to provide an organized response to tragic and chaotic situations."
This training is so valuable and important to all agencies as it allows the emergency responders to proactive tactics and procedures in the event of a threat.
Emergency responders participated in several realistic scenarios while instructors grading them on their actions. Volunteers posed as victims to make the scenarios more authentic.
Participating agencies are:
- Law enforcement: Rutherford County Sheriff's Office, Murfreesboro Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, La Vergne Police Department, MTSU Police Department, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Tennessee Highway Patrol.
- Fire: Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department, Rutherford County Fire Rescue Department, Smyrna Fire Department and La Vergne Fire Department.
- Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services
- Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency
Some law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics completed the Active Threat Integrated Response Course in February taught by the Louisiana State University's National Center for Biomedical Research and Training. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security funded the training.
Emergency responders in the February class created lesson plans to adapt for Rutherford County. Sheriff's Sgt. Mark Mack and Training Assistant Jennifer McKnight compiled the power point lesson plans, tests and forms into teaching manuals.
The 16-hour course is designed to improve integration between law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services in active shooting events. The class consists of eight hours in the classroom and eight hours of practical experience.
Kauffman appreciates the sheriff, chiefs and other department heads for supporting the training.
He thanked the volunteers from the Sheriff's Citizens Academy Alumni Association and MTSU students who are made up with wounds and a liquid resembling blood to portray victims.
Kauffman also thanked World Outreach Church and MTSU for providing facilities for the training.