The Next Shooting

Good morning from the Jumpseat.

Sandy Hook

As the horrific news came out last Friday of the school shooting in Connecticut we all stayed glued to the television at the firehouse watching.  Violence is nothing new to us, first responders, but this was something unbelievable.  How could anyone choose to harm such innocent young children? Seems unfathomable!

The one common statement always preached to us as we begin our journey into the emergency services is “scene safety”.  As we begin to pay our respects to the brave teachers and beautiful children whose life was taken all too quickly we should all prepare for the sad reality, this most likely is not the last shooting we will see.

Luckily, most of us will never run a tragedy of this size but we need to stay vigilant on all our scenes. Any emergency scene is dynamic and can change in a drop of a hat. Using some of Dr. Gasaways Situational Awareness is required for us all!  From a routine medical run, car wreck, or even at the scene of a structural fire violence can happen.  Using your cues and clues will help you stay ready.

A key point that I have always stressed is the “more the merrier” option on any scene.  In a tiered response system, there are often different types of apparatus arriving at different times.  This can include an engine on a medical run or an ambulance on a fire call.  Using all the resources for the entire run can lead to a safer environment.  Many times a medic crew will cancel and engine if the patient condition is not critical.  This can be a dangerous combination as it reduces your crew size to two.  We should keep our first responders around until the patient is loaded for the extra sets of eyes and extra hands if the scene were to become unsecured  Using six sets of eyes and ears is a lot better than two!


As we, all pause to say a prayer for the fallen children and staff of the school massacre let us also commit to remaining vigilant for each other.  I hope that this horrific event will NEVER take place ever again but we all should be ready if it does.  Next time it could be in your area.


Thoughts and Prayers going out from the Jumpseat to Sandy Hook Elementary!