Nov. 16—Both local police and fire departments continued active shooter training on Thursday afternoon to "save lives."
The Laredo Police Department and Laredo Fire Department Rescue Task Force training is the first of its kind, as it will allow further training with the latest tactical gear approved by City Council a few months back.
LPD Chief Miguel Rodriguez and LFD Fire Chief Guillermo Heard joined forces to train, prepare and execute active shooter scenarios at 1920 Sandman Street Tuesday afternoon.
"City council, a few months ago, approved us buying tactical gear," Heard said. "That was a $190,000 investment. This is for an incident, God forbid there is one, for us to be closer to the scene."
The chief of police believes this was a much needed training and previously had conversations with Heard before taking the chief position in preparation of such a scenario.
"This is not something we should just train with SWAT or our tactical personnel, but also engage with the fire department," Rodriguez said. "So when there is an active shooter, God forbid there are victims, we are able to engage into the warm zones and be able to save some lives."
According to Rodriguez and LPD Public Information Officer Joe Baeza, the designation of the warm zone is for one team to engage the active shooter while the other team, medics from the fire department surrounded by tactical personnel in the shape of a flying V, may attend the wounded. A set of two teams in hope of wasting less time and prolonging lives.
"The officers and the EMTs, now both wearing bulletproof vests and head protection, will go into warm zones," Baeza said.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, response times by local authorities is an average of three minutes. That does not involve preparation and assessing of the incident and may mean valuable time.
"The data shows the quicker we respond, the higher percentage of them surviving," Heard said. "We've been working with Laredo PD for the last several months and updating our (standard operating procedures) for best practices. We are moving our firefighters further into the warm zone."
Heard hopes to weed out any and all mistakes with these scenario training sessions.
"And this is just the first phase," Heard said. "We will continue training and after this training, our teams are going to reassess, come back to our chiefs (us) and see what other resources we need, we'll adjust our training and we'll continue."
The fire chief adds that the training is not a once a year thing, but a continuous one. He hopes to expand and work alongside other law enforcement fields in the future.
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