NewsCitrus, Hernando County


Mass casualty training in Hernando Co. focuses on saving injured victims

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 18:32:20-04

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. -- It's something every first responder prays they'll never have to do.

"God forbid we ever have to encounter something like this, we'll be prepared," said Kevin Carroll, Hernando County Deputy Fire Chief.

Be prepared for the event of a mass casualty… this scenario is an active shooter at Springstead High School.

"It's unfortunate to say that we have to train for these types of things but unfortunately, that’s the world we’ve come to live in today," said Carroll.

But today’s goal is different. The sheriff's office says the old way of train in an active shooter situation is law enforcement goes in, captures the shooter and then fire rescue comes in to treat the victims.

"That can take a tremendous amount of time that your victims don't have," said Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis. "Now we're bringing fire rescue with us."

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Deputies worked to protect rescuers who were going in to help the injured.

"Law enforcement and fire rescue have completely different ideas of what needs to be done. Here, we mixed the two as fast we could even when there still might be active shooting going on," said Nienhuis.

For the first time, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and Fire Rescue are training together as one unit to respond to a mass casualty and the who things was a mass production.

With other counties, the school district and four area hospital were involved, as well as dozens of volunteers playing wounded victims, even using makeup to make the wounds very realistic.

"The goal is getting in there as quickly as possible to help those children and teachers, even in the face of danger," said Nienhuis.

Both the sheriff and fire rescue agreed the training went very well, and they said they found some areas where they can also improve.