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June 15, 2016

NY EMS agency takes new approach to MCI

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In the wake of the Orlando nightclub mass shooting that left 49 dead and injured dozens, New York law enforcement officers and first responders are taking a hard look at how they would respond to such an incident.

Questions regarding how they would react and prevent an active shooter and MCI, after last weekend, must be asked. However, officials told News 10 there is only so much they can do to prepare and prevent such a situation. 

“We think about how vulnerable we may be and the types of things we can do to prepare ourselves, prevent these types of situations, and unfortunately, how to mitigate them should they happen to us,” Capt.James McNamara, Amherst Police Department, said. 

Pinpointing areas where a shooter could inflict the most damage with the least amount of resistance are what officials describe as soft targets.

“For well over a decade now, law enforcement has identified what we would consider soft targets, targets that we would like to harden, and we’ve educated those folks on, based on the threat assessment level to their establishment,” McNamara said. 

Areas like movie theaters, shopping malls, schools, summer festivals and busy nightclubs are considered soft targets; but each must be approached and trained for differently.

“We’re just dealing with different threats now,” Dr. Joseph Bart, Erie County EMS medical director, said. “The old way that you practice EMS in the 70s and 80s is not the 2016 version of what it means to be an EMT now. The idea that we have to stand outside and wait and not address the same as appropriate is a bit of a travesty. If we do that, we’re gonna cause lives to be lost.”


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