Mt. Prospect training medics for active shooter situations

The Mount Prospect fire department is contemplating purchasing equipment that will give paramedics the ability to respond more quickly to active shooting incidents.

Deputy Chief Brian Lambel told a joint meeting of the village board and the Finance Commission that he is requesting $20,000 for such equipment as vests, armor and helmets.

"What we have done in the past is we haven't gone in as long as the scene was hot or active. We would wait until the scene was cleared and then we would go in and treat the injured," Lambel said at last week's meeting on the village Capital Improvement Plan.

Lambel said studies have shown that in some cases, people could have been saved if help arrived sooner. The plan is for firefighters in a rescue task force, under police protection, to go into areas considered "warm" rather than "hot."

"Our medics could go in, start treating people that are brought to that area, under the protection of the police that would always be with them, and move on if they had to, to get other victims. And then what we can do is get the victims out, get them to triage and (they can) be treated quicker."

When asked whether the firefighters would become more of a target, Lambel said that they would be going into an area that was deemed safe, but that everyone is a target in such incidents. There would be two police officers, one in the front and one in the rear, providing protection. Firefighters are currently training with the police department.

Not all firefighters would be included in the rescue task force.

Trustee Michael Zadel asked how many incidents have occurred requiring this type of rescue. Lambel said there have not been any, but Mayor Arlene Juracek said there have been incidents in neighboring communities.

"I see the logic behind this, but this is one of things where you go, 'Whoa, these are firemen we are talking about here,'" Juracek said.

Lambel said with training, the department feels it can do this for its citizens.

Trustee Paul Hoefert asked whether there has been any push back. Lambel said he has seen the opposite, with firefighters expressing a desire to be trained.

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