Firefighters look at policies following mass shooting in Las Veg - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Firefighters look at policies following mass shooting in Las Vegas

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

It’s been about six months since the mass shooting in Las Vegas and that shooting presented a new kind of threat to communities across the country – an active shooter firing into an outdoors area.

“After Sandy Hook, following a number of shootings, Spokane fire department started the rescue task force,” says Brian Schaeffer, Spokane’s fire chief.

The Rescue Task Force (RTF) is a model that allows firefighters to move with law enforcement where there may be active firing so they can treat victims.

Then on the night of October 1, the mass shooting in Las Vegas presented a new kind of active shooter.

“It could be outdoors and widespread,” Schaeffer says.

Captain Mark Kittleson with the Clark County Fire Department remembers that night.

”One of our fire engines was driving by the venue and heard the initial gunshots,” he says. “We had 16 additional calls for either active shooter, explosions, fire…We closed down McCarran Airport. That's pretty unheard of, so from our mindset we were under attack.”

The scene covered more than 4.5 square miles. Kittleson says their RTF units went in with police, “where the law enforcement officers' only purpose to protect the firefighters while they go render aid.”

It’s a part of a policy they developed called the Hostile Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) policy.

“The biggest success of that night was the relationship between Clark County Fire and the Metropolitan Police Department,” Kittleson says.

They also a mass casualty incident unit

They also have this mass casualty incident unit, which has several kits.

”The night of October first this unit set up in two different areas,” Kittleson says. “We do have body armor, helmets, special medical kits that we carry…It's not like our traditional, going to a regular call. There's a lot more to it.”

So Schaeffer wants to make sure Spokane is prepared too.

“With the number of risks that we have, public events, schools, different gathering places, places of worship, we know that three or four companies isn't going to be enough. We need to make sure everyone has that same training,” Schaeffer says. “We need to reevaluate what we have and what we can do to make it better in Spokane.”

The Clark County Fire Department is currently working with other agencies to put together an after action report. That should be out later this month.

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