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LAFD To Alter Response Policies After TSA Shooting PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 26 December 2013 00:00

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles fire officials are dramatically changing how rescuers respond to mass shootings after a gunman mortally wounded a Transportation Security Administration officer at LAX last month.

The goal is to have Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics and firefighters, protected by armed law enforcement teams, rapidly enter potentially dangerous areas during active shooting incidents to treat victims and get them en route to hospitals.

The department thus joins a growing number of fire agencies that are borrowing battlefield tactics of military medics to improve the odds of saving victims. "The LAX incident really was a paradigm shift for us," Fire Department Medical Director Marc Eckstein, an emergency room physician and proponent of the more aggressive approach to rendering medical aid, told The Times. "There are people whose lives may depend on us getting them out of there quickly."

Tactical changes had been under consideration but were accelerated and disseminated through the ranks after the Nov. 1 shooting of Gerardo I. Hernandez, the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty.

That morning when rescuers arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, they set up a safe distance away and waited 15 minutes before they were told that Hernandez was lying by an escalator near the entrance of Terminal 3, according to interviews and dispatch logs obtained by The Times.

Police moved Hernandez to paramedics using a wheelchair, and he was taken to a Carsonarea trauma hospital, where he was declared dead.

A coroner's autopsy report found 12 bullets had ripped through the 39-year-old officer's heart and other organs, and Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck has said no rescue effort could have saved him.

But Hernandez's death added new urgency to overhauling the Fire Department's response to shooting rampages in which gunmen haven't been apprehended.

Gerardo I. Hernandez, the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2013 17:44

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