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    Broward Sheriff Office Didn’t Allow Paramedics to Enter Parkland School

    Broward Sheriff Office Didn’t Allow Paramedics to Enter Parkland School

    Deputy chief for fire-rescue asked the captain at the scene SIX TIMES to allow paramedics into the school.

    The hits keep coming at the Broward Sheriff office after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The Miami Herald has reported that paramedics begged the office to enter the school to save the wounded, but the captain at the scene said no:

    Michael McNally, deputy chief for Coral Springs fire-rescue, asked six times for permission to send in specialized teams of police officers and paramedics, according to an incident report he filed after the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 people dead.

    But every time McNally asked to deploy the two Rescue Task Force [RTF] teams — each made up of three paramedics and three to four law enforcement officers — the Broward Sheriff’s Office captain in charge of the scene, Jan Jordan, said no.

    “The [BSO] incident commander advised me, ‘She would have to check,’ ” McNally wrote in the report released Thursday by Coral Springs. “After several minutes, I requested once again the need to deploy RTF elements into the scene to … initiate treatment as soon as possible. Once again, the incident commander expressed that she ‘would have to check before approving this request.’ “

    Thing is, even after the officers arrested the gunman, the sheriff’s office kept telling the paramedics they couldn’t enter the building.

    The Miami Herald pointed out that gunshot victims can bleed out fast, which means they need prompt medical attention. These special RTF teams have permission “to treat victims under the protection of police officers in situations where a shooter has been pinned down or fled but has not necessarily been captured.” SWAT medics went into the school instead of the RTF teams.

    The commanders used school security footage to monitor the situation, but the video was on a 20 MINUTE DELAY. No one knew that at the time. The shooter fled the scene “roughly six minutes after opening fire at 2:21 PM.”

    The Miami Herald continued:

    In his report, McNally, who had been ordered to act as a liaison between Coral Springs fire command and BSO, also claimed BSO’s command post was severely dysfunctional. Communication was difficult, McNally said, because he often could not locate Jordan, BSO’s district commander for Parkland.

    “The command post was inundated with too many people and made it impossible to establish and function,” McNally wrote, echoing criticisms of the disorganization and lack of a unified command structure that plagued BSO’s response to a deadly shooting at the Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last year.

    At least three additional fire-rescue incident reports released Thursday by Coral Springs confirmed that BSO had denied requests to send in the rescue teams. Coral Springs provides fire service in the city of Parkland. BSO provides law enforcement.

    McNally admitted that Jordan did not know for sure if the RTF teams would have been any help inside, but he also pointed out that she “couldn’t have realized that when she repeatedly denied his requests.”

    Officials arrested the shooter at 3:40 PM. McNally stated that Jordan still denied permission for his team to enter the school.

    As I said, this is only the latest criticism of the Broward Sheriff Office. They had four deputies on campus while the shooter still fired his gun and Jordan only told her ream “to form a perimeter around the school.” They also denied medical air rescue.

    For our coverage on the Parkland School Shooting and Broward County, see here.


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    CKYoung | June 1, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Intentional mass casualty training is available to all law enforcement and first responders. It doesn’t seem as though the broward county sheriff had implemented any of the new protocols, since they resorted to the pre-Columbine tactics. I haven’t heard any legal chatter regarding the promise program. Seems this program not only allowed some crack slipping, but created and widened the cracks.

    Mac45 | June 1, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    A couple of things here.

    First, the commander has several concerns in a situation such as this. The first is to locate and neutralize the threat. Egress and ingress routes have to be identified, or established, and protected. Evacuating people from a building does no good, if you evacuate them right into the crazed gunman. That is the reason for the current hunker down strategy. Getting rescue personnel to victims in an unsecured shooting scene is sort of like moving through a minefield. You have to stay to a specific lane and area to avoid running into a threat. And, these people require protection, at least a half squad [5 armed personnel] which has to get them in and out, until the scene is cleared.

    Look, the Broward Sheriff’s Office had a multitude of problems in this incident. From the initial reluctance of personnel to enter, locate and neutralize the shooter to the lack of knowledge that the surveillance system was on a 20 minute delay, instead of being real-time[not the smartest way to set up such a system]. But, this is simply piling on and the Coral springs Fire Chief should really know better.

    Second, the injured are not the only potential victims in this type of scenario. Besides those already shot, you have other non-combatants inside the building who must be protected, as well as those outside the building. Until the threat is located, running people around the area is just establishing more targets.

    Third, is communications. I am not sure what kind of communications compatibility we are talking about in this case. There might be established inter-agency radio channels. Or there might not. The last thing that you want is for uncontrolled first responders running all over an active scene where the threat has not been found and neutralized.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Mac45. | June 1, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      Congratulations, you just laid out a scenario in which gunshot victims can bleed out before help gets to them.

      Although I appreciate caution, such situations require aggression, swift action, and sometimes immediate violence. Your last sentence reminded me of the anti-gun crowd’s fear that the armed citizen at the scene of a mass shooting will make things worse – something that has never happened. If we don’t train EMTs to follow police into situations like this, and then actually deploy them the way they’re trained, we’ll never know if it works or not. Even if it does work most of the time, it will fail (as all plans do) now and then. (“No plan of action survives contact with the enemy.” “A good plan, executed violently today, is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”)

      Police/SWAT needs to enter immediately. Medical personnel can follow the sweep and be left behind with wounded as areas are secured. It is essential to get medical aid to shooting victims as quickly as possible. Is it dangerous? Of course. Can it be done more safely. Yes, but possibly at the expense of lives (ironically lost for safety fears).

        Mac45 in reply to DaveGinOly. | June 2, 2018 at 1:16 pm

        I have explained this until I am blue in the face and STILL you do not understand.

        Any person in an active shooting area is a TARGET. It is possible, even likely, that the gunman will attempt to shoot that person. Now, a LEO is armed, possibly armored, and in a position to effectively neutralize a shooter. An unarmed paramedic, parent, school official or any other unarmed person has very limited, or no, resources to defend himself from a man with a gun. Anyone who is shot may or may not be dead already. Nothing that the entry team can do is going to reverse that. However, the main job of the entry teams is to locate and stop the shooter before he can harm others. It doesn’t do much good if the shooter is allowed to rack up another 5-10-20 victims while previous victims are being aided. Is it possible that some of the wounded might have been saved if they received immediate medical care? Perhaps. We’ll never know that for sure. Is it possible that paramedics entering the building until it was cleared of threats could have been killed as well? Perhaps. As they waited until the building was cleared, we’ll never know that either. Life is filled with what ifs.

        As to your tactical plan, that was exactly what occurred. LE entered, eventually, and began sweeping the building for the shooter, whose location was unknown. The paramedics were staged outside until it was safe for them to enter the building. In order to effectively control the building, the victims have to be located. It has to be determined that there is no, or a very limited, further threat in the building. Then unarmed personnel have to be escorted for their own safety and to limit contamination of the crime scene.

        I know that it feels good to think that a person armed only with good intentions can walk into the lion’s den and exit unscathed. But, this is not real life.

        Now, my take on the comments of the Coral Springs Fire Department is that they are designed to deflect criticism of his department, because the paramedics remained outside while the LEOs swept the building.

      Fen in reply to Mac45. | June 1, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      “Until the threat is located, running people around the area is just establishing more targets.”

      With respect, I find your other points sound even though I don’t agree with all them. However in this case the “people” running around are adults, maybe bullet proofed (vest) maybe armed (9mm). They are what Larry Correria refers to as speed bumps. If the shooter chooses to engage them or is even distracted, those are precious seconds where he is facing hardened trained targets instead of slaughtering defenseless teenagers.

        Mac45 in reply to Fen. | June 2, 2018 at 12:55 pm

        “However in this case the “people” running around are adults, maybe bullet proofed (vest) maybe armed (9mm).”

        You have to actually read what I write on these subjects. The LEOs were armed, and hopefully armored. So, they are hardened targets who are capable of effectively responding to an armed threat. The paramedics were not. Nor were the firefighters, or the school employees. So, the non-LEOs were simply harmless targets.

          Fen in reply to Mac45. | June 2, 2018 at 1:59 pm

          Right. I didn’t misread you. I’m saying that in the *future* EMTs should be hardened and armed. Even if it’s just a vest and 9mm.

          Larry Correria is a subject matter expert on this topic. He says that as soon as school shooters meet the slightest armed resistance their fantasy bubble pops and they either surrender or kill themselves.

          “The vast majority of the time, as soon as a mass shooter meets serious resistance, it bursts their fantasy world bubble. Then they kill themselves or surrender. This has happened over and over again.”

          They would likely surrender to a CNN camera crew.

      assemblerhead in reply to Mac45. | June 2, 2018 at 6:10 am


      The 20 min delay on the tapes is part of the “Promise Program”. This way the deputy(s) at the school can kill the tape before a ‘crime’ is recorded by the system.

      All part of ‘sweeping-it-under-the-rug’.

      The deputies at the school are NOT there to protect anyone. Their job is to prevent crime from being reported. “Promise Program” remember?

        Mac45 in reply to assemblerhead. | June 2, 2018 at 1:25 pm

        Sorry, but nothing that I said was wrong. The purpose of the tape delay rendered it useless for the purpose of real time surveillance. Now, it was being recorded in real-time. This has to occur in o0rder for there to be a DELAY. The suspected purpose of the delay in projecting the view of the cameras was so that no one would be likely to actually see what happened, except those who were actively editing the recordings. This limited the number of witnesses to any incident.

        The deputies and other LEOs, who responded to the active shooter call, WERE there to extend protection to those inside the school. There were a few who chose not to do that. But most did their jobs. And, they ran into they problem of the delayed feed from the surveillance cameras.

      amatuerwrangler in reply to Mac45. | June 3, 2018 at 3:01 am

      MAC45- I’m not looking to start one of those urinating contests, but I think you might be the one who is not understanding. Your original comment (“A couple of things…) is a wonderful dissertation regarding how things should be done; I expect that everyone sitting around the Chief’s conference table listening to it is impressed. In reality it is just another battle plan that will not survive initial contact with the enemy.

      The original issue with the medical teams is that they had on scene teams of officers and medics ready to take action. Because they have an official designation for these teams (TEAMS) one has to consider that they are trained for this sh… er, stuff. The officers are armed and prepared to meet the shooter should he choose to take them on, and the medics are equipped to administer aid to the wounded. Everyone most likely should be in body armor. Drydocking them probably cost a couple of lives, in my opinion.

      All the rules and protocols must operate under the umbrella of protection of life and property, in that order. Improvisation due to unique factors at the scene must at least meet that overall charge. The most valuable thing at a scene like that is someone close to the point of the spear to make a decision and act on it. A captain who must check with “higher ups” in a situation like that is no better than a janitor; where were their sergeants? They are the ones who are not consumed by “career” and they know that it is easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission.

      If the Broward upper command does not trust their Sergeants and Lts on the scene to make good decisions, then they need to do some serious house cleaning. [I recall that in a comment thread on a previous article on this topic you expressed a degree fo experience in the business, so I will leave it at “that makes two of us”.]

    As regards EMTs my military background can provide some expertise. I volunteered to join the Marines, I volunteered again to serve in the 03xx MOS, ie. Infantry.

    But the Navy Corpsmen (ie EMTs) attached to our Battalion did not. Nor did they get the benefit of Marine Corps boot camp, Infantry School, Squad Leaders Course, etc.

    But these are the bravest men I have ever known. No Infantry training, no weapon, but three they are out on the FEBA skylining themselves by holding an IV bag up in the air over a fallen Marine. Without any regard for their own safety.

    Couple that with the Broward EMTs demanding entry into a hot zone so they could save lives, and it’s not unreasonable to give them the authority and training to enter a school shooting ahead of cowardly corrupt incompetent local police.

    Hell, in this age of terrorism where follow-on EMTs are targeted with snipers and secondary IEDs, it only makes sense to harden them.

      Redneck Law in reply to Fen. | June 2, 2018 at 7:05 am

      Fen, first of all, thanks for your service. My son is a former Marine, two combat tours and presently an EMT assigned to a SWAT team. They are highly motivated and trained. (See prior comment on “Tactical Medical Competition “.

      My son’s first Navy Corpsman, Mark Cannon, (Silver Star; Purple Heart) was KIA doing exactly what you described, saving the lives of his men. Thank you for giving me a chance to honor Mark.

      Arminius in reply to Fen. | June 2, 2018 at 9:15 am

      Maybe I can offer something from experience. I was undergoing COMPTUEX (Composite Training Unit Exercise) and I was hit with a first aid question. And I knew what to do. And later the evaluator singled me out for knowing what to do. It was the highest accomplishment I achieved, ever. Later I when I was a trainer in the training battle group I always made sure to put first aid problems in in the situations I’d throw at the trainees.

      My first aid kit fills up a Sear’s Craftsman tool box. Ok, that’s just my chainsawing kit. I also have my zippered backpacking kit and my vehicle kit, which fits under the seat. I’m qualified on the M14, the M16 the M590, the M11, the M9, the M1911. But it always seemed my highest and best use was to render aid. You are the rifle men, Marines.

      Mac45 in reply to Fen. | June 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      *sigh* There is a reason why paramedics and firefighters are not given firearms and trained to enter active shooter situations. It is liability. Their employere do not want to spend the time and money necessary to properly train these individuals to use deadly force. Also, to the people trying to equate the situation in this case with the situations in which military medics find themselves. In the first place, even unarmed combat medics work surrounded by armed troops. While combat medics are extremely brave and dedicated individuals, they are not superman. These paramedics could have been escorted into the building by LEOs [you should have 5 armed men to provide effective security for the paramedics] who would then have stayed with them and protected them. Then it would have required an armed escort to move the wounded and medical personnel out of the building safely. Also, it is not impossible for armed responders to carry wounded out of the danger zone to waiting medical personnel. It happens on the battle field all the time. Again, it depends upon the situation, the environment, the number of potential victims remaining and the number of armed responders available.

      It seems like the compassionate thing to do to place people in jeopardy, unnecessarily, to perform humanitarian services. But, sometimes it is simply not a good idea. The armed responders go in to neutralize the ongoing threat. Then the rescue portion of the operation kicks in. And, simultaneously, if possible, or shortly there after, the investigative portion of the operation kicks in.

    Arminius | June 2, 2018 at 9:52 am

    I still wouldn’t have waited six minutes. I wouldn’t have waited one second. I know that may seem like big talk but I didn’t train for ship’s security reaction force for nothing.

    If I remember correctly, didn’t two officers get disciplined for “disregarding orders” to stand down and went into the building?

      Mac45 in reply to Redneck Law. | June 2, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      This involved two Miramar police officers who responded on their own initiative without authorization or even seeking authorization. Bad move. If they had contacted anyone in authority at the Miramar PD and obtained authorization then their actions would have been covered. Their employer can be liable for their actions, in an official capacity, even if the department knows nothing about that activity. In this case, they were outside their jurisdiction and were not actively involved in a breaking incident. Discipline has to be maintained.

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