LAKE FOREST PARK, Wash. -- The recent mass shootings at a church in Sugarland Springs, Texas and a country music concert in Las Vegas prove it can happen anywhere.
“We know that something like this is going to happen sooner or later in one of our communities,” said Battalion Chief Douglas Knight with the Northshore Fire Department.
When they do, every moment matters
“If we can get folks to the hospital, into the operating room in less than an hour then they have a fighting chance. Much longer than that and they just don’t,” said Chief Knight.
On two recent weeknights at the Town Center at Lake Forest Park, firefighters, EMTs and law enforcement officers conducted active shooter training. The victims were all actors but first responders take practice like this very seriously.
“There’s some really horrific injuries involved with gunfire and the only way to get them out and get them treated is do it quickly,” said Lake Forest Park Police Chief Steve Sutton.
Officers are trained to enter the scene, look for the shooter and neutralize the threat. These drills take it a step further by teaming officers with fire personnel in ballistic vests to enter a still active scene called a “warm zone” so they can treat “the wounded.
“They’re not 100% cleared but they’re enough that we feel comfortable with armed guards to make it safe for the fire fighters,” said Chief Sutton.
Every second can save lives making the teamwork crucial.
"In the past, there’s been problems where folks have had to wait and people died waiting for assistance. That’s not good enough anymore,” said Chief Knight.