ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. -- Medical emergencies, car accidents and house fires are not the only emergencies local firefighters are training to face.
Now, they’re training for another growing threat in our country: Active shooters.
“It’s an unfortunate reality, but our threat environment has changed,” said St. Lucie County Fire Chief, Buddy Emerson. “We’re used to threats, but not this kind of threat.”
Tuesday, St. Lucie County firefighters teamed up with St. Lucie County deputies for their first SAVE training, or Swift Assisted Victim Extraction.
Deputies learn to guard unarmed fire fighters as they move into a scene where an active shooter is contained.
Without this training, firefighters can be left waiting minutes, or potentially hours, to get inside a building or shooting scene to tend to possible victims.
This helps them get to victims more quickly, when seconds can be life-saving.
“For fire and EMS to show up on a scene and wait until things are safe for us to make entry costs people their lives,” Emerson said.
In the past, deputies could try dragging or carrying victims to rescue crews for treatment, but that could also be time consuming.
“The goal here is not having fire rescue and law enforcement. It’s one team working together,” said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.
Emerson said he has been working to have his crews go through this training for more than a year.
Mascara agreed the training is growing increasingly important.
“Law enforcement across the country has witnessed this in the events of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and most recently yesterday in San Bernardino California,” Mascara said.
Palm Beach County and Martin County deputies and fire fighters have gone through the same training.
Indian River County firefighters and deputies are looking to do their first SAVE training in the summer.