The local Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department SWAT or tactical team and two other groups from Roanoke County and the Virginia State Police, met at Greenfield Education and Training Center on Monday Jan. 28, 2013. They trained in emergency medical services in a tactical situation.
Jason Ferguson, a captain Botetourt EMS, taught the class with help from other EMS memebers.
Tactical officer Lt. Kevin McClure leads the Botetourt team. He said, “We have found that often the tactical or SWAT teams are the first on the scent to secure the scene and to stop the offender. As in the Colorado Theater shooting, tactical police are on the scene before EMS. It has been noted that the response from the police in triage on the scene has saved lives in injured victims. It increases survival rates.”
With an exception of a few, all of the men present on the tactical squad were at the Virginia Tech massacre in April of 2007. None of them receive extra pay for their participation and volunteer on their time off to practice with other Roanoke Valley tactical squads and State Police squads. McClure said they have found that training and cross training keeps all of the local tactical teams on the same page.
It was not a pretty sight to watch gaping chest wounds being applied pressure in a video Ferguson showed. The use of a tourniquet as well as basic airway methods were taught to the officers. Each received a tourniquet to go on his duty belt. They practiced how to use one the floor as well as standing. They learned how to open airways. Ferguson said, “I used various EMS textbooks and Combat EMS preparedness for the morning long training.”
Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle continues to encourage familiarity and cooperation between multiple agencies. “Knowing the abilities, capabilities, and areas of expertise that different tactical teams posses is crucial for preparation and implementing a plan of action” said Sprinkle.
In this time of uncertainty following the latest school shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, it is good to see that Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department deputies (and others from the Roanoke Valley,) are doing what they can to prepare for such an event they hope never happens.