Local first responders talk about the importance of training in active shooter & mass casualty incidents

Following two deadly mass shootings this weekend in Ohio & Texas, local first responders are reminding everyone of the life-saving training they go through every year to prepare for active shooter incidents.

Paramedics with York Regional Emergency Medical Services gave FOX43 reporter Jamie Bittner a tour inside one ambulance.

Each unit is equipped with a bag packed with important tools to respond to a mass casualty incident. The bag includes tags for first responders to mark victims who need the most urgent care. It also includes a chart to organize the response and ensure patients are going to the correct hospitals.

"There's a lot that goes on this board that you have to consider..." said paramedic Breanna Chilcote, who also serves as an acting supervisor for York Regional EMS. "You have to calculate the number of patients you're sending certain places so you don't overwhelm one hospital versus another."

Paramedics also carry tourniquets in every ambulance. The same tool is carried by every York city police officer as well.

York police officials also confirm to FOX43 that they complete regular active shooter training. When police arrive at any active shooter scene their first goal is to stop the shooter, police officials said. Police cars have been equipped with extra body armor, and some vehicles also have helmets.

York also provides active shooter training presentations, which the public can request by contacting the city.

Paramedics recommend anyone who wants to buy a tourniquet first becomes trained on how to use the tool by taking a course such as those offered by 'Stop the Bleed.' However, they suggest the best thing the public can do to assist first responders in a mass casualty incident is to stay calm, apply pressure to wounds and don't run into danger.

"Do not become a victim yourself. You can't help anybody else if you become the victim," Chilcote said.

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