Preparing for the unthinkable


Marlborough emergency departments receive ‘active shooter’ training

By Ron Ayotte, Contributing Writer

Firefighters learning to “rapid package” victim. Photo/courtesy Marlborough Fire Department

Marlborough – Columbine. Sandy Hook. Parkland High School. The Tree of Life Synagogue…

Mass shootings and active shooter events seem to have become a common occurrence. It can happen anywhere, at any time, from the big city to small town America.

The Marlborough Police and Fire departments and Patriot Ambulance, along with the Central Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council’s (CEMLEC) SWAT team recently conducted an active shooter drill to train to respond to these types of incidents.

Firefighters and paramedics practiced entering an active shooter scene with police personnel as part of a Rescue Task Force, rapidly triaging, treating and removing victims from the scene.

Eighty percent of the Marlborough Fire Department has been trained in active shooter response, with the remaining members scheduled to complete the training in the near future. CEMLEC is also planning to hold a “Train the Trainer” class in early 2019 to enable the Marlborough Police and Fire departments to conduct their own joint drills.

“The role of Fire and EMS in an active shooter incident is not to rush in, but to stay in what is called the warm zone and wait for the police to confine and/or remove the threat,” Marlborough Fire Assistant Chief Jeff Gogan explained. “Once the threat is confined or eliminated, Fire and EMS can go in and triage patience and start treatment. A draft of an Active Shooter SOP [Standard Operational Procedure] has been completed and will be reviewed once the training has been completed.”

Each emergency department will be set up with ballistic vests and helmets, allowing the Fire Department and EMS to have multiple rescue teams in the event of an active shooter incident.

“We hope that the equipment and skills learned will never have to be used,” Gogan said.