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Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Florida emergency medical teams frustrated over ‘delay’ in Parkland school shooting response
The following article appeared in FoxNews on February 26th
By Matt Finn
Three high-ranking Florida officials
close to the law enforcement response at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
tell Fox News there was a delay in Emergency Medical Service getting into the
school in the critical moments after Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire,
killing 17 people and wounding at least 14 others.
Two separate sources told Fox News
some of the EMS teams who requested to enter the school were told they could
not. One source said it was the Broward County Sheriff’s Office – which
was the commanding office – that ordered some of the EMS crews not to go into
the school when they requested to enter.
Broward County Sheriff Israel
“What’s going to come out is, in the
communications on several circumstances, there was the request to enter... the
request was denied from Broward County,” a Florida official told Fox News.(VIDEO HERE)
“When you have a police agency saying
we don’t want you going in, that’s a problem,” another Florida official said.
“The training since Columbine has been [that] first responders, police go in
immediately with paramedics.”
In an email to Fox News, a BSO
spokesperson forwarded a memo it released on Saturday. In part, the memo read,
“there are multiple investigations being conducted in addition to the Stoneman
Douglas shooting. Investigators will not be rushed or asked to jump to conclusions.
Their investigations are thorough and methodical as they take and compare
witness statements, review dozens of incident reports, transcribe and analysis
numerous radio transmissions, listen to more than 80 911 calls.”
Multiple high-ranking sources told Fox
News police officers and deputies were bringing victims out to EMS workers to
be treated instead of allowing EMS inside. One fire official said that
“sometimes” that’s just how it would happen, but at least one emergency
responder wondered if the response was detrimental to the victims.
Three Florida officials confirmed to
Fox News that the emergency response at Stoneman Douglas apparently went
against standard EMS training in which EMS teams typically go into emergency
situations right behind police as soon as possible.
“We’re trained to go in behind the
advanced team to engage the shooter. We’re trained to get in behind them with a
security contingent of law enforcement. It’s my understanding that it didn’t happen
right away,” a high-ranking fire official told Fox News. “There was a delay.”
Mike Moser, the Division Chief of
Fire Administration for Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department, which was on
scene that day, released a statement in response to the growing requests from
reporters about the Rescue Task Force mode — which would have paired up
paramedics with law enforcement to enter the building.
After the shootings; arrest of Cruz
Moser said RTF was presented to the
commanding officers of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, but the request was denied
because the type of response was not appropriate at that time, since the
location of the shooter was not known. RTF can be employed only when law
enforcement can clear an area for EMS
“Decisions cannot be made in a
vacuum. All of the variables must be taken into consideration before a rescue
task force can be enabled,” Moser told Fox News. “It is possible that those
that are upset about not being allowed inside, simply do not have all of the
information that our law-enforcement partners had in making their decision.”
In a press release, Moser said the
Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department was in command of all medical functions,
and only that relating to the care of patients.
Moser said he could not recall EMS
ever going into an area that hadn’t been cleared by law enforcement without the
assistance of police or a security contingency.
“It’s a joint venture, they can’t
operate with us and we can’t operate without them,” Moser said.
Still, officials and responders
remained angry about how operations were handled. Fox News’ reporting aligns
with similar information from reporter Brian Entin of Fox News affiliate WSVN
reports he spoke to a seasoned emergency medical responder who was one
of the first on the scene to the Stoneman Douglas shooting. The responder told
Entin, “everything I was trained on mass casualty events says they did the
"Everything I was trained on mass casualty events says they did the
wrong thing." I spoke with a seasoned emergency medical responder who was
one of the first to the Stoneman shooting. He doesn't want me using his name
for fear he will get fired. Here are his exact quotes. @wsvn
The responder also reportedly told
Entin that medical teams were willing to risk their lives to go inside and were
asking their scene commander why they were standing around. “The response every
time was, law enforcement did not clear the scene and would not allow medical
The responder added, “I would
hypothesize I could have saved lives. I can’t say for sure.”
Three high-ranking sources including
a fire official told Fox News the responder who spoke to Entin could be
“The WSVN report is correct,” one
“The WSVN report does not shock me
given what I’ve found out,” said the fire official.
Several sources described the scene
as very intense but gave credit to EMS for their heroic efforts and saving
“We treated and transported and saved
lives,” one fire official said, comparing the situation to a battlefield as
emergency responders even used “tourniquets” and “high level treatments” in the
The allegations of a delayed EMS
response came as Florida Gov. Rick Scott launched an investigation into the Broward
County Sheriff’s office response on the day of the shooting and how the
emergency was handled in its entirety.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel
said the Stoneman Douglas High School resource officer, Scot Peterson, was
removed from his post after it emerged that Peterson did not go inside the
school during the shooting.
Peterson released a statement through
his attorney in which he said his actions were appropriate under the
circumstances and that surveillance and eyewitness testimony would exonerate
him of alleged dereliction of duty.
Israel also said three other deputies
were on restriction pending an investigation into their response on the day of
the shooting. There were widespread allegations and reports from the Florida
Sun Sentinel and CNN that the deputies also did not go inside the school.
One fire official said if there was a
delay in the deputies' response, it would have had a domino effect on EMS.
“If they’re not going in then we’re
not going in. We’re trained to go in with them,” a fire official told Fox News.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi,
the state’s top law enforcement official, spoke to Fox News on Monday and
weighed in on the ongoing investigation into the Broward County Sheriff’s
Office, suggesting it would shine a light on the timeline of the February 14
"I know a lot more than you all
do now, so all I’m going to say is, yes, I believe there needs to be a full
investigation,” Bondi said. “I don’t think some people were being honest and
we’re going to investigate this in Florida and the right thing will be done.”