'The best way to address a worst-case scenario': Police pack new life-saving gear
CREATED Jan 9, 2013
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - When emergency strikes and seconds count, first responders in Tucson now have a new tool to save lives.
The equipment came about after Tucson’s police, fire and emergency management departments studied emergencies like the July 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. They found in the initial chaos and confusion, injured people are in need of immediate care but medics have to wait to get to them.
“That is the most critical phase in being able to save somebody's life,” said Capt. Kris Blume, Tucson Fire Department. “What we need to be able to do is apply basic first aid, basic life support efforts.”
But Blume explained medics, per standard procedure, cannot enter a scene until law enforcement find and stop the threat, which in a mass shooting situation could be gunman.
Tucson Police Sgt. Chris Widmer added that takes time.
“If you can imagine certain places like a mall or a school, it can take a long time for the police to ensure that there's no one else there that can harm anyone,” the department spokesman said.
The city’s new equipment is specifically for officers and others on scene during the first moments of response. They’re “mass casualty incident response kits,” always packed in patrol sergeants' trunks. Think of them as big bags holding six advanced first aid kits.
“It's not just a first aid kit,” Blume said. “These are actually designed for large, traumatic injuries.”
There are over-sized bandages and gauze that police can use on a gunshot or car crash victim, for example, until medics can safely move in.
“We know that these kits will be deployed in the right set of circumstances -- that patients will have a positive outcome,” Blume said.
“The best way to address a worst-case scenario,” he said.
Tucson police have eight customized kits. Regular kits have a retail price of about $2,500 apiece. Federal funding paid for the project.