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Firefighters Train For Mass Shootings Response

Posted at 10:17 PM, Jul 18, 2016

When most people see a fire truck, they think of firemen responding to a fire, but when tragedy strikes in the form of a mass shooting, firefighters are often some of the first people on scene.

"We want to have that mindset, that muscle memory if this happens, this is what we're going to do," said La Vergne Assistant Fire Chief Chris Clark. 

To prepare for the unthinkable, Clark has been training La Vergne firefighters, and those around the state, for a mass shooting or mass casualty event. 

"Our overall goal is to increase the safety of our responders, at the same time, decrease the mortality of our citizens or the bystanders," Clark said.

The course has covered the best ways to work with police on scene, and what equipment to use when treating the injured. 

"Our main focus is stop the bleeding as quick as possible," Clark said. 

About two years ago, new equipment was put on La Vergne firefighting vehicles that allows them to treat victims with multiple gunshot wounds, equipment they're thankful to have, but hope they never have to use. 

"La Vergne's not so small that it couldn't happen here," said Sam Christopher, firefighter and AEMT with La Vergne Fire Department.

Firefighters' bags have been equipped with everything from tools to stop a lung from collapsing to equipment to stop bleeding and help transport a victim to a safer location. 

Firefighters in the training said what they've seen in the recent weeks, months, and even years, are deeply saddening, but if tragedy strikes in Tennessee, they're ready to help save lives.

"It's better to be prepared and it not happen then it happen and nobody have a clue," Christopher said. 

The La Vergne Fire Department has also applied for a grant to pay for bullet-proof vests to protect the firefighters following the recent mass shootings.