Course helps prepare first responders for emergency situations

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Saving lives – in life-threatening situations.

That is what a handful of first responders learned Sunday through a training course that is brand new to Southern Nevada. Community Ambulance, a private emergency response agency, held its first-ever Tactical Emergency Casualty Care course. They say the new training can help save lives during high-stakes events, such as an active shooter situation.

Daniel Webster is an Advanced EMT for Community Ambulance. He and his fellow first responders say they are used to every day 911 calls. But helping people while they are still in a high-threat environment is not the same.

“There’s a significant difference. We have to approach our medical care differently, we have to approach our scene safety differently, and our interaction with our law enforcement and fire partners change as well because of the dynamics of the situation,” Webster said.

That is why they are taking Community Ambulance’s Tactical Emergency Casualty Care course. Adopted from military training, the course helps first responders handle chaotic situations in a civilian setting. Community Ambulance’s Director of Special Operations Glen Simpson says they are using it because of the 1 October tragedy.

“As a first responder that night, this is definitely near and dear to me,” Simpson said. “Anything we can do to equip our employees with better tools to work toward better outcomes for our patients is something that’s positive.”

The 16-hour course includes hands-on instruction on how to apply tourniquets, use medical devices — and get people out of harm’s way. The goal is to avoid what they call “preventable deaths.”

“How we can care for our patients better, quicker, and get them to that hospital a lot faster, in better condition,” Simpson said.

Now with Sunday’s training under their belts, first responders like Webster feel more ready than ever to protect the community from mass casualty events, such as the 1 October shooting.

“Should we, in the unfortunate circumstance, have to respond to that kind of threat, we’re better prepared to function and survive and take care of the people we serve,” Webster said.

Simpson says Community Ambulance hopes to hold the new training once every couple of months. The agency is also expanding their reach to emergency responders from out of state to take the course.

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