SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s a new concept to save lives in active shooter incidents. As first responders arrived at the Las Vegas shooting scene, police weren’t the only ones wearing bullet-proof vests and Kevlar helmets.
Las Vegas firefighters and paramedics were also wearing body armor.
It’s a new tactic described as a “rescue task force” concept that could be coming to Sacramento, too.
The heart-pounding pictures and sounds from the Las Vegas shooting scene were especially haunting for Sacramento Assistant Fire Chief Chad Augustin.
“The first thing that I thought, like any American, any human being, just devastating – and I thought how could any one person do that,” Augustin said. “But then the very next moment is ‘What if this happened in Sacramento?'”
It was only a few weeks ago Sacramento held a massive outdoor concert. Common performed at the capitol.
“That was actually the first thing that I thought about, is we had 20,000 people at a concert in an open area, what if this happened at that event?” Augustin said.
Video shows Las Vegas medics wearing Kevlar helmets and bulletproof vests at the shooting scene.
In Las Vegas, the medics work with police to provide immediate medical care during active shootings.
It’s called a “rescue task force model.”
“So right now as a region, Sacramento doesn’t have a rescue task force,” Augustin said.
Sacramento’s fire department has trained with law enforcement to deal with active shooters. But right now, there is no rescue task force model in place – and no specialized equipment to protect medics called to active shooter scenes.
“We have to evaluate how we would perform in that same environment,” Augustine said.
Augustine says the model requires all regional police and fire agencies to have the same communication systems. And local governments would have to fund the body armor equipment.
“So we should be at the table today, tomorrow, coming up with the details to how we can get that program to be successful,” Augustin said.
As active shootings become more common. The business of saving lives is changing.
Augustin said body armor gear for every Sacramento firefighter could cost the city about a half-million dollars. The firefighter’s union would likely also have to agree to changes that would send its members into active shooting scenes.