Fallbrook, CA.—The North County Fire Protection District (NCFPD) is teaming with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department to create a Rescue Task Force when called to an Active Shooting Incident. Also the two organizations are developing plans to expedite Emergency Evacuations during wildfires.
Rather than fire and emergency personnel and law enforcement functioning independently during such scenarios, 3 to 4 key personnel from each Agency will join forces at the Incident Command Post to create a Task Force and work as a team to reach victims at the earliest possible moment, while simultaneously maximizing the safety of both victims and first responders.
“While it is essential to enter the scene as early as possible to treat and stabilize victims, especially where there are mass causalities, to do so without advance planning and teamwork between fire and emergency personnel and law enforcement is extremely dangerous,” Battalion Chief Keith McReynolds explains. “Our personnel want to go right in and engage with victims; that said, it is important that the scene is made safe BEFORE going in.”
Chief McReynolds said he realized a couple of months ago that the fire protection District has not done much training with local law enforcement over the years. “So, we initiated this plan of action and, fortunately, it has been embraced by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department,” he stated.
Chief McReynolds also said this joint effort between the two agencies is in keeping with NCFPD wanting to become even more “Pro-Active” with regard to implementing evacuation warnings and orders to residents being impacted by an out-of-control wildfire. “Working together at the Fire Command Post, on scene, personnel from both agencies can create evacuation routes, for example,” he explained. “We don’t want people to stay behind in their homes during a wildfire; the recent “Camp” fire in Paradise, CA is an tragic example of why this is essential.”
He said that the District’s joint training exercises with the Sheriff’s Department includes both
in-field drills and “table top” exercises (meaning in a classroom). “The great thing here,” Chief McReynolds concluded, “is that we learn from the law enforcement personnel and they learn from us. Together, we become a commanding force in protecting the general public.”