WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A tragedy, like the shootings in Colorado, is often random and difficult to prevent. But when it comes to response, local police and firefighters train for years to be prepared for such an event.
The Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Department performs large training exercises four times a year. In April, they held a mock-shooting drill at a Belle Glade school with the sheriff’s office to practice for real world situations.
“You just train and hope you never have to put your training to use,” said Captain Albert Borroto of the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Department.
“We triage patients, get them out and try to expedite their transport to definitive care at the hospital,” said Borroto.
Initial reports from the shootings in Colorado claim there weren’t enough ambulances to transport victims to the hospital. Some reportedly were taken in police cruisers.
At any given time in Palm Beach County, there are at least 81 staffed rescue units and fire engines on duty to respond to disasters. Plus all local firefighters also are trained as paramedics.
“It takes time to mobilize all of the units and get them to a scene,” Borroto said.
Training also takes time, but Captain Borroto said with each exercise, first responders become more comfortable and better prepared for the real life situations they hope will never occur.
“It's tragic to see them and our hearts go out to the families and survivors; we just train to do our best,” he said.
We contacted every county in our viewing area, and every county has multiple training exercises a year. In addition, every county also has an Emergency Operations Center that can be activated if first responders need additional help.
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