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Police, Fire, Medics Practice Active Shooter Drill At Far West High School

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Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio News
A fire and rescue member carries a mock school shooting victim from the teacher's lounge at Harlan High School on Thursday.

Some local law enforcement and fire units on Thursday practiced the latest technique in responding to a mass school shooting.

The technique was called the Rescue Task Force Concept.

Sounds of the active shooter drill echoed across the campus of Harlan High School on Culebra Road, in far west Bexar County, including staged gunshots and cries for help from mock victims. The radios crackled with frantic chatter, and a medical chopper hovered high over the school.

The mock gunman was gunned down in a teacher's lounge during the event.

First responders from county fire departments, the sheriff's office, the Northside Independent School District, and the ATF took part in the drill on Thursday at the school, the district's largest.

Members of the Helotes Fire Department and an air medical crew also participated.

District Seven Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin Clarkson said gone are the tactics used at Columbine High School in Colorado where law enforcement secures entire buildings before medical personnel are allowed in.

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Credit Brian Kirkpatrick / Texas Public Radio
The drill included practicing medical care on mock shooting victims.

"Unfortunately, what we saw in those instances is that people would bleed out, like if they were shot in the leg or something, they were bleeding, hemoraging bad," Clarkson said. "They would bleed out and die."

Clarkson said medical personnel now follow law enforcement into an active situation almost immediately to tend to victims as soon as possible and to save lives.

Thursday's drill allowed several agencies to work together and practice the rapid response technique to a mass shooting. Clarkson said the drill put law enforcement and fire and rescue members into teams.

"There's a lot of benefit tied together in this. It's not just the training piece of it, but it's also the cooperation that is taking place," he said.

Fire personnel practiced their marksmanship at a gun range before the drill, just in case they were put in the position of covering for a wounded police officer hit by a shooter.

The school hallways were empty of teachers and students who were away on Spring Break.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.