November 21, 2014

Medina
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Philosophy rethought for EMS at shooting scenes

MEDINA — Traditional rules say firefighters and emergency medical technicians shouldn’t enter a building when a gunman is inside until police sound the all clear.

But that means injured people may be inside, cut off from help until police have secured the building.

“My vision is to change that,” Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said. “My prayer is that we never have to deal with something like this; but if we do, we’ll be able to handle it and save more lives.”

The idea, Hanwell said, is to give medics and firefighters the training to enter a “hot zone” where a shooter might still be active but where people inside need medical assistance.

Hanwell and Police Chief Patrick Berarducci met Wednesday with city Fire Chief Bob Painter and several other area police chiefs to discuss how to implement the new policy.

Berarducci stressed: “It’s important to remember that we’re not trying to turn policemen into firemen or firemen into policemen.

“What we’re trying to do is reduce the response time on rescuing people so we can save as many lives as possible.”

The meeting was held at the Medina Fire Department, 300 W. Reagan Pkwy., to discuss how the training would work and when it should take place.

Berarducci and Painter said this is a “cutting-edge” change in philosophy and it’s one they hope to adopt soon.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.