• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Paramedics to change training for active-shooter scenarios

The scene outside Los Angeles International Airport after 23-year-old Paul Ciancia allegedly pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and opened fire at a Terminal 3 screening checkpoint, killing Gerardo Hernandez on Nov. 1, 2013.
December 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles Fire Department is changing the way it trains for and responds to some medical emergencies to speed up its response.

In the chaotic aftermath of the recent shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, arriving paramedics were initially kept out of Terminal 3 due to fears over a possible active shooter.

Rescue crews waited outside, and it was a reported 15 minutes before wounded TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez was loaded into an ambulance. Hernandez died from his wounds.

Los Angeles Fire Battalion Chief Steve Ruda says in part because of the LAX incident, their training policy is changing.

"The lesson that we can get is to work in cooperation with our law enforcement agency, develop tactic and strategy, communications skills, so that we can get on scene rapidly," said Ruda.

Paramedics will now be guided into scenes with police protection to get to victims much sooner. Officials compare it to how medics operate on a battlefield in war.

"It has changed," said Ruda. "It is a military operation, because we're going in to extract and pull out as rapidly as possible people that might be injured or shot or wounded, and we can get them to help."

The L.A. Fire Department and the Los Angeles Police Department will train together starting in January.

"Firefighters are not to be carrying any weapons. They'll be carrying their tools of saving lives," said Ruda.

Ruda says all the recent mass shootings are an unfortunate reminder of a changing reality.

"It's just escalated to the point where every day, it's like, How can this happen? How can this happen? We're going to be ready," said Ruda.

Hernandez's autopsy suggests that even with immediate medical care, he would probably have died anyway due to the nature of his wounds.

The city fire department insists changing training and tactics will save lives in the future.


Load Comments