By Michael Abeyta
MONUMENT, Colo. (CBS4) – The students at Bear Creek Elementary in monument are on spring break, so the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department and Monument City Police decided to use the building to do a little learning of their own.
“We thought this would be a great opportunity to fine tune our skills,” said Fire Chief Chris Truty.
Monument is a small, mostly quiet, community between Denver and Colorado Springs, but in today’s world of active shooters and mass casualty events they want to be prepared.
Truty said, “This is a new risk. It’s a new issue that we’re dealing with and we’re adapting to it.”
That means coming together to try something new.
“Traditionally the police department has gone in and they’ve basically isolated the shooter or taken care of the shooter, called out the the fire service or the end service and said, ‘OK, come in and get the victims.’ But Research has shown over time is that actually survivability for the people who are injured in the shooting environment actually increases if we can get them out so all the benefit went towards us working with the police.”
That means firefighters and EMS quickly going into the situation with police protection after an initial wave of police has deemed areas with survivors safe. That could mean a shooter is still in the building while they are helping injured people so that’s why Tri Lakes Monument Fire has developed tactical vests with medical supplies attached to them.
Battalion Chief Mike Keough said, “When I started in the fire service I never would have imagined that this is something that we would be doing, but the fire service is pretty good at adapting to what we need to handle.”
Monument is one of the first communities in the nation to try something like this, but they are hoping to lead by example.
“We hope that all the agencies at least surrounding the town of Monument embrace this concept,” said Police Chief Jacob Shirk, “because this is the direction we are going and if we should ever be so unlucky to have a mass casualty or an active threat in this area, it would be great to have all of our agencies working on the same page.”