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Paramedics Are Taught Not to Risk Their Lives After Mass Shootings. They Should.

followed news of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting with one thing on my mind: Where was EMS? As Omar Mateen’s three-hour assault played out, we now know, the 80 medics on the scene were kept more than 100 yards from the club, outside what’s known as the “hot zone.” Many of the injured were transported to hospitals in pickup trucks.

The same was true during the Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colo., in 1999, when crews waited outside nearly an hour for a SWAT team as a teacher lay dying. Medics were also kept from entering the Aurora, Colo., movie theater where 12 people were killed in 2012 during a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Cops took many of the victims to hospitals in their squad cars.

After these tragedies, grieving friends and family have pressed officials for answers — why were the lifesavers kept from the victims?

I understand that frustration. I was a paramedic for nearly 10 years. In that time, my job certainly put me in danger’s way; like many of my co-workers, I believed that saving a patient’s life was worth losing my own. But because EMS departments (rightly) prioritize the safety of their crews, we were encouraged to stay on the periphery of crime scenes.

This approach is outdated. Paramedics must be trained to respond in dangerous environments, and they should be given the tools they need to stay safe. With the uptick in mass shootings across the country, we can’t afford to keep them on the sidelines.

Read full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/08/26/paramedics-a...