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FEMA Asks Medics to Enter Mass Shooting ‘Warm Zones’

FEMA issues new guidelines for first responders of mass attacks.

Parkland High School in South Whitehall, PA held a massive "active shooter" drill. Credit: South Whitehall Patch
Parkland High School in South Whitehall, PA held a massive "active shooter" drill. Credit: South Whitehall Patch
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FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has recently released new guidelines for first responders to mass casualty events, advocating that instead of taking cover until a site is secured, medical personal should go into ‘warm zones,’ even if gunmen are still at large or other threats, such as bombs, are still active, the The New York Times reports.

It’s guidance medics may use soon: Since last December 14th, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people (20 of them first graders) at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, there have been 16 more mass shootings in this country.

Dr. Lenworth Jacobs, a trauma surgeon who worked with military officials, other medical experts, and law enforcement representatives to assess the best response to such situations, told The Times that “unfortunately we have to change how we approach them to keep death tolls down, because instances of mass casualties are on the rise.”

Looking at the differences between the numbers of casualties resulting from instances like the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year, where responders acted quickly and relatively few people died, as opposed to the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, where no officers entered the scene for a half-hour after two students went on a shooting spree leading to the deaths of 13 victims, FEMA’s fire administrator, Ernest Mitchell Jr., frames the new guidance as “Risk a little to save a little, risk a lot to save a lot.”

The new guidelines also recommend that first responders be escorted by armed police and be equipped with body armor.

What else should first responders be doing to prep for the threat of mass shootings? Tell us in the comments or in a blog post.

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