Collier County firefighters, EMS train to respond to active shooters situations

Collier County’s firefighters and emergency medical service members trained together to enhance their collective ability to respond to situations involving active shooters. This was a collective decision made my Collier’s emergency response agencies. The training gives firefighters and EMS responders the ability to act promptly to a report of an active shooter instead of waiting on the side lines.

Collier County fire and EMS members from agencies countywide joined Collier County Sheriff’s Office to train in active shooter situations.

“When there was this type of an event, law enforcement would go in first, secure the scene,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “Fire rescue would come in and assist with extraction after the event. We can no longer wait until after an event today.”

Now, when the sheriff’s office goes into secure a scene, firefighters and EMS will be alongside them to get victims out.

“We have to be on the same plan,” said Chief Eloy Ricardo of North Collier Fire & Rescue. “And that was an aggressive move put us all together.”

The training sets up law enforcement and fire and rescue for success in these dangerous situations.

“This was a decision we made. We have not been told by anyone else in the state to do this,” Rambosk said. “And we created the protocol to do that, and that’s what’s unlike most other locations in the state and in the nation.”

A new Florida law allows paramedics to carry guns when responding to shootings or other high-risk scenes. But no emergency responders, other than the sheriff’s deputies and police officers, carry weapons in Collier County.

Four years ago, North Collier Fire started putting three sets of tactical gear on every engine. That includes a bullet-proof vest, a bullet-proof helmet and a tarp to carry patients.

“Everybody has their different protocols, but here in Collier County, we have one,” Ricardo said. “It doesn’t matter district boundaries, doesn’t matter district lines.”

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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