AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Active shooter situations are becoming more common in the United States, but our public safety officers are working to make sure they are prepared if an event happens in the panhandle. It's a dangerous situation and first responders have to work together and be ready for anything.
A few minutes after the initial 911 call. The first men arrive on scene, they enter the building fearless and unnerved and without expectation.
Three minutes later a group of unarmed fire and EMS enter an uncleared scene with police. "We provide security for the fire fighters, because what we are really asking is for them to go unarmed without body armor into a scene where police are taking guns and body armor into so we are in affect their guns and body armor."
10 minutes later the shooter is down. More EMS and police enter the building to tend to the wounded.
Active shooter situations like the one portrayed are happening more often in the United States. Chief Jeff Greenlee of the Amarillo Fire Department says, "Well unfortunately active shooter incidents are becoming more and more frequent in society so we just need to be prepared here in the city of Amarillo to deal with one should it come our way. So we want to have the latest training available and this is it."
Amarillo is ahead of many other major cities in Texas. Their forward thinking and preparation could save more lives. Greenlee states, "I sat through the training a few weeks ago in Canyon and it just became very apparent we need to be a little more advanced in what we are doing in this area. So I sat down with Chief Taylor from the police department and he agreed that department wide this was something we needed to address from both departments."
Our public safety officers are receiving the most up to date ALERT training. Sergeant Sam Shurley from the Austin Police Department says "The Active Threat Integration Response Course which is what Amarillo PD, Randall County and AFD are working on now is to integrate bringing the different law enforcement, fire, and EMS bodies so that everybody can work in an integrated package so that we can work as a team."
This class teaches the importance of working together. Police, fire and EMS work well in their own pillars. But, their ability to move as one unit for one common goal will save lives. Shurley says, "We can all work under the same umbrella. To where law enforcement, fire fighters and EMS are all in a unified command system they are working together towards the same goal but under one umbrella rather than working in those silos I talked about where we are approaching it from three different perspectives, we are approaching it three different disciplines with one perspective."
Our officers want you to know they are working hard to keep you safe. Shurley assures "In an unfortunate incident that a citizen of Amarillo is a victim of one of these incidents they should know that there public safety professionals are doing everything necessary and everything possible to be as capable and prepared when it happens as anyone in the united states or anywhere else."
The course is 10 hours and includes classroom and scenario training. This class also teaching representatives how to teach others to make sure all public safety officers around the panhandle are on the same page on how to handle an active shooter situation.