HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Mass casualty incidents have unfortunately become far too common in the United States and it's encouraged more training for emergency preparedness in communities.
Here in Madison County, Monrovia Volunteer Fire and Rescue has teamed up with the Madison County Sheriff's Office SWAT Unit to practice how they'd work together in tactical situations.
We are on day 145 out of 365 and there have already been 241 mass shootings this year, meaning more mass shootings than days in 2023.
This shows that tactical training is important now more than ever to help keep people safe.
Lieutenant James Filley with Monrovia VFR says, "there's been a lot of events recently that have kind of brought it to light, you know, the types of tragedies that can happen and in a lot of high occupancy areas. You know, Monrovia has a lot of schools, a lot of churches, a lot of business. And so if it does happen, we do want to be prepared for that."
Monrovia VFR teamed up with MCSO SWAT Unit to do tactical training within a donated house.
These types of tactical drills performed are common for the SWAT team to practice breaching, clearing of rooms, and dealing with hostage situations.
But for Monrovia VFR, learning how to assist medically in mass casualty scenarios is pretty new.
"We're not the ones with the guns. We're not the ones with the training to be able to go into a structure. But if they go in and either one of their guys gets hurt or there's a victim of some type of situation, we want to be able to be there and be able to operate effectively with them so that we can treat that person as best we can," Lt. Filley said.
A lot of the medical situations the fire department deals with are, "traumas associated with a fall, traumas associated with a car accident, that type of stuff…we don't get a whole lot of, you know, the gunshots or the gun violence type incidents," Lt. Filley said.
Lt. Filley says their fire department also wants to invest in some ballistic gear because of the high occupancy structures within the area.
"We want to be prepared just in case, you know... the worst event could happen," Lt. Filley said.
In these emergency situations, Monrovia VFR would medically assist the SWAT team within the 'warm zone,' where there's still potential for danger but the threat is not immediate.
"They do have a paramedic that's attached to their [SWAT] team and they do have a surgeon that's attached to their team as well. So we would kind of just be that 'hot zone' to 'warm zone' transition. So if something happens inside, they're going to pull that person out and then we're going to try to be there to try to treat that person as...effectively as we can," Lt. Filley said.
The fire department says they've got great relationships with other agencies and are fortunate to train with the SWAT team.
"This kind of just gives us that more one on one personalized training. You know, they get to know us, we get to know them, then we get to have a little bit more of an insight into kind of their tactics. And it helps us be more effective if one of these incidents were to arise," Lt. Filley said
Monrovia VFR says they're grateful to be able to practice on houses that are donated to them, like the one in the video, as it provides them with several different types of hands-on training that's beneficial to their department.