Mid-Atlantic Rescue Systems, Inc.

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Bullet Proof?

New York State ranks number eight in the top ten list of mass shooting incidents between 1982 and early 2020. The incidence of a LOCAL mass shooting may seem inconsequential, unfortunately, when it does happen, it is often random and frequently deadly. Innocent bystanders, sometimes including children, are left dying on the street, in buildings and even in schools.

For the EMS provider who has been taught about the "Golden Hour" and "Time is Brain", the idea of sitting by, waiting for a scene to be secured by law enforcement, and knowing that SOMEBODY desperately needs your help, is, at the least, frustrating. But you can't just rush in…

All over our country programs have been formed to train Emergency Medical Service and Fire responders and local Law Enforcement to work together to get to the wounded as quickly AND SAFELY as possible. By training together, first responders are taught to move as a unit, treat the critically injured in place, and even evacuate patients, when possible, to waiting ambulances and transport to hospitals.

"First responders have a role that places them on the razor's edge on many calls they respond to. Especially Law Enforcement. First responders are tasked with saving lives while trying to maintain their own safety. All the agencies involved work together to make sure everyone goes home at the end of their shifts. LEO watch the backs of Fire and EMS, while the LEO’s depend on the other agencies to save their backs if they get hurt. To do these monumental tasks training for these scenarios is important and training as a team together on the way you will respond is what will help get that job done. Every call is different and having an open well-trained mind is what will get the job done." ~ William Durando, Director, Hemlock Farms Community Association, Department of Public Safety.

The New York State Preparedness Training Center, through a partnership with the National Center for Security & Preparedness at the University at Albany, trains first responders on how to collaborate, respond to, and end an active shooter or aggressive deadly behavior incident. Using a "real-life" city-scape stage, EMS, FD, and LEOs train together to work as a unit in moving through dangerous settings while minimizing risk and saving lives. For a brief view of what this collaboration looks like, see the YouTube video at https://youtu.be/hcPsTucHvXk

Many EMS responders, with or without their agency's assistance, have resorted to purchasing their own ballistic vests for protection in case of a shooting incident, whether mass or individual. It's important to learn both the protection levels of a vest (what projectiles and speeds of resistance) and also, very importantly, what a vest can do to the mobility of the EMS provider while giving care. Understand that, while the vest MAY be effective in not letting a bullet enter the body, it does not prevent the force of the bullet as it hits the vest/body; additionally, the only part of the body that MAY be protected is only what the vest covers. It's recommended that if the provider is wearing a "bullet-proof" vest, he/she run through practice skills to see how movement may be limited.

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