MEDINA — Police officers are trained to run to the sound of gunfire.
But Medina police soon will be bringing more than weapons with them. They will be trained and equipped to provide immediate medical aid for those critically injured in a mass shooting, such as the attack earlier this month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“Our primary mission remains the same — stop the shooter,” Mayor Dennis Hanwell said. “But we are expanding on our police service delivery model by attempting to begin care as soon as possible.
“We have had great success in saving the lives of heart attack victims with our quick response. Now we will better prepare for the aftermath of any potential shooting incident.”
In January, Medina police will get two days of training from Medina Life Support Team instructors.
The course, called Tactical Casualty Combat Care, was developed by the military so soldiers could care for the injured during combat before medical personnel arrive.
The new training will build on a program begun two years ago designed to teach police officers to care for themselves if wounded in a gunfight.
As part of the training, each Medina police officer was equipped with a combat bandage called Quick Clot and a combat tourniquet.
The new program goes a step further.
“We will take the ability to save lives in the door with us.” Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said. “Our officers are the first in and will be trained and equipped to deal with both the shooter and his victims.”
Berarducci said that advanced medical care professionals usually do not enter an active shooting scene to protect them so they can care for multiple casualties once evacuations begin.
But that means the evacuation and care of wounded has to wait until a “hot zone” is secure.
He said the new training will mean Medina officers can provide emergency care faster.
“We will stop the shooter or he will stop himself, but the process (of providing medical aid) begins immediately,” Berarducci said. “While I feel confident we can help make a difference, let’s hope we never need to use our training.”
He said the course is endorsed by the American College of Surgeons and the National Association of EMTs.
More information about the program is available at www.naemt.org/education/TCCC/guidelines_curriculum.aspx.
Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.