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Active-shooter drills held in Rancho Cucamonga

August 1, 2013 9:01:02 AM PDT
Various law enforcement agencies in San Bernardino County worked together Thursday for hands-on drills simulating an active shooter inside a movie theater.

They gathered at the Victoria Gardens Shopping Center in Rancho Cucamonga. During an early-morning drill, girls came out screaming for help, and the sheriff's department went into the movie theater in full tactical gear and guns drawn as if it were a real event.

Officials have been practicing the drill all week. The Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department was one of the agencies participating in the event.

"This is a unique role for us. A lot of fire departments don't take an active role in training with their sheriff's department, but we have a longstanding relationship with them that has allowed this to happen," said Kelley Donaldson, spokeswoman for the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department.

Donaldson said what they learned from the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., was that if the fire department and paramedics can get to the scene quickly, they can treat wounds on the spot. But their moves have to be in partnership with law enforcement, Donaldson said.

Typically, law enforcement has to clear the scene before medical personnel or the fire department can get in and help victims, but lives are lost in that time frame, authorities say.

In Rancho Cucamonga, law enforcement and the fire department are trying a new approach. Members of the fire department will go in with a team of armed law enforcement officers before the scene has been deemed completely safe to treat the seriously wounded. It's a technique modeled after what combat soldiers do to treat the wounded in a war zone.

Officials hope putting it in place will help save lives in the future.


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