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Inside look at police and EMS training together for first time in active shooter situation

"Both sides, police and EMS, say 'Why haven't we done this before?'" St. Charles County Medical Team Lead David Tan said.

O'FALLON, Mo. — Just one day after a deadly attack inside a Colorado school, first responders in St. Charles County are teaming up to take part in active shooter training. 

It may not be the real thing, but it's as close as you can get.

"Both sides, police and EMS say why haven't we done this before? Simply because it's so valuable when you actually work together and work through a scenario as a single team," explained St. Charles County Medical Team Lead David Tan.

Throughout the months of May and June, paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement officers in St. Charles County will come together at St. Charles Community College’s Allied Health campus to train collaboratively on these high-acuity incidents. The large footprint of the facility and grounds will enable evaluators to vary the scenarios and inject variables into the exercises in real time.  

The training scenarios will make use of classrooms, corridors, ancillary buildings and other areas of the multi-acre campus. To enhance the sense of realism, light, smoke and simulated gunfire will be utilized, and the scenarios will make use of numerous live volunteers, some displaying varying degrees of simulated injury. 

“The active shooter scenario is one we’ve utilized for MCI training before, most recently in 2016. Unfortunately, the frequency and scope of these incidents necessitate regular, dynamic training,” said St. Charles County Ambulance Distirct Training Officer Rick Lane.

“Thanks to close collaboration between participating agencies, this year’s series of training evolutions promises to be a fully immersive experience designed to test the critical thinking abilities of all who participate,” added Lane.

Eighteen training sessions will be held over nine days at St. Charles Community College’s Allied Health Facility in O’Fallon, Missouri.

In total, more than 500 first responders will take part in the training.  

It's the first time they've held the training in 3 years.

"Unfortunately this scenario has played out time and time again in communities that are very small and communities that are very large throughout the nation," explained Kyle Gaines with the St. Charles County Ambulance District.

Since their last active shooter training, two of the deadliest mass shootings in United States history have happened, the Pulse Night Club shooting in Florida and the Las Vegas concert shooting.

It is one reason why the county just bought bulletproof vests for their paramedics and firefighters.

"Many never envisioned a day where fire and EMS would have to have the same level of protection that police do, but given the number of incidents that have happened throughout the nation we thought it was time to go ahead and do this," added Gaines.

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