“The way we define scene safety in the next 5 years is going to change.“
– Dan Limmer
During EMS World Expo there was a Learning Center in the Exhibit Hall. The talks given there were approximately 30 minutes long and focused on a specific topic. In a way they reminded me of the popular TED Talks, and found it to be a refreshing format that I wish we could see more of in EMS CE.
On Tuesday I attended a talk by Dan Limmer from Limmer Creative on Strategies To Prepare Students For Street Violence. This talk seems exceptionally poignant now in light of the Navy Yard shooting that occurred just yesterday.
Dan has extensive experience in both law enforcement and in the Emergency Medical Services. He explained how law enforcement has changed their strategy to mass shooting incidents from a “surround and contain” standard to a more of “insert and eliminate” strategy using 3-5 man teams in what is now termed an Active Shooter Response. Just as the law enforcement for these strategies has changed, so will the EMS strategy of staging until the scene is clear. Public expectations of how these incidents are handled has already been under scrutiny as shown in cases such as the Aurora Country Colorado Theater Shooting.
Scene safety and situational awareness are not sciences and Dan recalled a mall encounter he had off duty that led him to make the right choice of exiting the scene prior to the eruption of a gang conflict while shopping with family. Intuition and that “gut” feeling should always be taken into account when sizing up a scene or situation.
Dan also brought up the fact that you may not know there is a shooting until you hear the actual gunshots. In these instances he offered his Ultimate Safety Strategy when caught in such a situation is to Cover —> Move —> Cover. Emergency Care in these types of situations is different than your typical call:
- Rules are different in combat
- Be prepared to improvise
- Focus on your survival
Dan’s insights and strategies were more than enlightening. In a changing climate of expectation they are a necessity in order for those on the front lines and in the thick of it to be better prepared.
Dan Limmer is an educator from Kennebunkport, Maine. He is the founder of Limmer Creative, a publishing company that specializes in mobile educational apps such as 12-Lead ECG Challenge, EMS History App, and the newest humor app Med Benders that are available for both the iOS and the Android platforms at an app store near you