The Use of Rescue Task Forces in Response to Active Shooter/Hostile Events




Nichols, John K.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



While law enforcement’s response to active shooter/hostile event incidents continues to evolve, fire and emergency medical services (EMS) response to the same type incidents have remained relatively unchanged. Typical fire/EMS response involves staging in a safe location and waiting for the scene to be rendered safe by law enforcement. This clearing can take a significant amount of time. The critically wounded victims often present at these scenes require rapid treatment and transport in order to give them the best chance available to survive. Law enforcement agencies should deploy integrated teams that include medically trained personnel in order to achieve the goal of saving as many lives as possible during these events. Deploying integrated teams will allow for immediate, point of wounding treatment of the critically wounded by appropriately trained responders. Such deployment will also allow for the appropriate triage, extrication and transport of those patients that require advanced treatment off site. Finally, such integrations forces face to face communication in a commonly chaotic situation, increasing the effectiveness of the response. In order to deploy such teams, law enforcement should work with their brother and sister responders in the fire/EMS realm in order to properly prepare, train, and equip themselves to respond to these types of events. Proper training should be ongoing, so that skills do not diminish. Preparation should include producing standard response protocols and operating procedures that mirror each other, so that each discipline is aware of the other’s capabilities and responses. Equipment should be as standardized as possible.


Emergency management, Interagency cooperation