Active Shooters Training Exercise at Rose Bowl Applies Key Lesson Learned from Recent Tragedies

Published : Thursday, May 23, 2019 | 5:06 AM

Firefighters and police officers from area agencies participated Wednesday May 22 in a “live shooting” training exercise at the Rose Bowl designed to improve emergency responses to mass casualty events.

Over 100 members from the police and fire departments of Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, and San Marino participated in the simulated attack involving multiple shooters targeting patrons arriving at a rock concert.

Approximately 110 volunteers accounted for the crowd element, 35 of whom were made up to have serious injuries for which paramedics were to first respond. The remainder made a run through a concourse to escape the mock massacre. Approximately 60 Rose Bowl staff members also took part.

The Pasadena fire and police departments served as lead agencies.

The exercise was coordinated by the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Cal-JAC). Spokesman Carroll Wills explained that the exercise put a new mass shooting response technique to the test.

“The unique aspect of this particular training is that it’s built around creating a rescue task force of emergency medical responders, protected by law enforcement, going into the scene before the situation is secure,” said Wills.

The novel approach has been developing for some time now, he explained, and is largely the product of hard-learned lessons from recent mass shootings at San Bernardino, Las Vegas, and Thousand Oaks.

“Historically, the lifesaving aspect of responding to a mass shooting or a mass casualty event was delayed to some extent, because law enforcement maintained the perimeter while paramedics and EMS personnel were kept outside of that perimeter until the scene was secure,” he explained. “We’ve learned that you can’t wait. You have to get in there sooner.”

“Getting in there sooner” means medical responders must locate and begin to treat the wounded faster, with armed protection.

It is too soon to discuss the major takeaways from an event that just happened, said Wills, but one immediate benefit was the practical training aspect of running through a live, real-time event.

“It took this training out of the classroom and theoretical realm and put it into a kind of practical use so the participants could actually see and deal with distress, hear the volunteers who played the victims screaming, and experience the strain first-hand,” said Wills.

Cal-JAC is a statewide labor-management training partnership. The Unified Response to Violent Incidents (URVI) training protocol, which it developed, brings law enforcement and fire together to train on techniques for treating shooting victims while a scene is being secured.

To date, more than 80 fire and law enforcement agencies have conducted URVI training statewide.

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