La Feria News

First Responders Train for the Unthinkable

Multiple emergency agencies training to respond to the unthinkable in a real  local school shooting. Photos: Bill Keltner/LFN

Multiple emergency agencies training to respond to the unthinkable in a real local school shooting. Photos: Bill Keltner/LFN

“There’s an Active Shooter in the School!”

Bill Keltner

Bill Keltner

It was a day of training for those who would be the first responders to a frantic call to report an active shooter loose in the school with casualties.

The Emergency Paramedics, Law Enforcement Offices, and Department of Public Service and other police officers in the training class were riveted to the four hours of instruction they received in the Cafeteria area of La Feria High School. The lectures were accompanied by brutal pictures and other visual aids. It was a day they won’t forget.

The training was provided by HealthWebCE instructors. The organization is based in Harlingen. This was their first time at the La Feria High School. They thanked the school administration for the use of the auditorium and the opportunity to share the crisis management program with potential first responders. This training was specifically for various agencies Valley-wide who would rush to the scene to secure the students and teachers should such an event happen.

Instructor prepares officers for worst scene scenario.

Instructor prepares officers for worst scene scenario.

Joshua Alvarado, Chief Instructor, said “no one knows when you would have that threat in your school–an active shooter or shooters walking the halls and shooting victims at random in your school.” “That is why“, he continued, “this training is so important for law enforcement officers, EMT people, and firemen to be prepared with a plan to deal with the crisis when they arrive after an horrific incident.”

Trained to be first on the scene of a school shooting with ambulance stretchers:  (l)  Naomi Reyes, Lluvia Perez, Instructor Joshua Alvarado, Leticia Garcia, Karynna Martinez.

Trained to be first on the scene of a school shooting with ambulance stretchers: (l) Naomi Reyes, Lluvia Perez, Instructor Joshua Alvarado, Leticia Garcia, Karynna Martinez.

“Unfortunately bloody scenes of massive assaults by shootings, stabbings and explosions in schools are a reality–signs of the times we are living in,” he commented. “The first responders must get over the shock of what they see, and get to work protecting and treating the victims using the training they have received.“

Three La Feria High School students helped with crime scenes: Zharraine Logan Torres, Harlingen;  Emily Salazar, Harlingen; Dannaee Silva, Mexico.

Three La Feria High School students helped with crime scenes: Zharraine Logan Torres, Harlingen; Emily Salazar, Harlingen; Dannaee Silva, Mexico.

Part of the training included emergency ways to stop bleeding, treating bullet wounds and stab wounds. The trainees were shown how to make a surgical airway in the throat (Cricothyroidotomy) if an airway cannot be maintained in cases of Maxillofacial trauma.. They were taught to make a surgical breathing opening through the thyroid cartilage, and then insert an endotracheal tube. Another procedure was also demonstrated about how to extricate a fallen police officer and get him out of more harm’s way. This cram course in crisis management was not a picnic in the park–it was deadly serious. Those attending law enforcement officers and support teams now have a realistic look at what they could be called on to deal with in a situation that no one wants to face.

This reporter left the training session with great respect for those who are training to get in and do the best they can to protect and help the surviving victims of what we pray we never have to hear on the police radio–“Active shooter at the school!”

Method of extrication demonstration for fallen officer, Officer down:Armando Gonzalez, EMT;  2nd officer, Adam Cancino, La Feria; Instructor Joshua Alvardo.

Method of extrication demonstration for fallen officer, Officer down:Armando Gonzalez, EMT; 2nd officer, Adam Cancino, La Feria; Instructor Joshua Alvardo.

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