Drill includes officers, rescue workers

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL

AINSWORTH ? For the past three days, the Conservation Education Center at Marr Park became a training ground to integrate the response of fire crews and emergency Medical Technicians with law enforcement in the event of an active shooter.

About 40 members of the Washington Police Department, Washington County Sheriff?s office, Washington County Conservation, Williamsburg Police Department, Iowa City Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, Washington County Ambulance, Keokuk County Ambulance, Keota Police Department, Story County Fire, Solon Fire Department and EMS, Durant County Fire, and Louisa County Ambulance gathered for the training offered by the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training and Louisiana State University. The focus on the Active Threat Integrated Response Course (ATIRC) was to improve integration between gro0ups responding to an active shooter situation. The course was designed to improve the safety and survivability of the victims.

?It went really well,? Washington County Emergenicy Management Coordinator Marissa Reisen said. ?We had a great response from everyone who participated. The drill went well. I think everyone learned a lot.?

She said that former coordinator Larry Smith had bid to have the 24-hour training in Washington County. After Reisen learned Washington County had been selected, she spoke with Washington County chief deputy Shawn Ellingson and they decided to bring the training to the county.

?In the past, law enforcement would have to clear an area before we could start bringing in medical help,? Ellingson said. ?Now, with this current trend, we are clearing zones and bringing in EMS with law enforcement security so we can treat people who are bleeding, injured, and have life-threatening injuries even before we continue through the building and clear it all.?

Ellingson said that 90 percent of active shooter situations are over inside 15 minutes. Instead of law enforcement focus being clearing the building, the focus can be turned to the injured. He said most people who die in those situations die from loss of blood.

Reisen said with the increase of active shooter situations, the philosophy of the response has changed. She said the training is meant to help responders determine areas of a building with an active shooter that are no longer at risk.

?The top priority was to get people in there and to train our LEOs in what things they can do to help people from bleeding out, then bring in people with more medical training and keep them safe. We are going to save a lot more lives.?