Paramedics to Aid Wounded While Gunmen Are Still Active

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Los Angeles fire officials are dramatically changing how rescuers respond to mass shootings after a gunman with a high-powered rifle mortally wounded a federal security officer in a shooting rampage last month at LAX.

Los Angeles Fire Department

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel set up at a nearby terminal on Nov. 1 as a shooter was being sought in Terminal 3. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

The new goal is to have Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics and firefighters, protected by armed law enforcement teams, rapidly enter potentially dangerous areas during active shooting incidents to treat victims and get them en route to hospital trauma centers.

“The LAX incident really was a paradigm shift for us,” said Fire Department Medical Director Marc Eckstein, an emergency room physician and proponent of the more aggressive approach to rendering medical aid. “There are people whose lives may depend on us getting them out of there quickly.”

Tactical changes had been under consideration but were accelerated and disseminated through the ranks after the Nov. 1 shooting of Gerardo I. Hernandez, the first Transportation Security Administration officer killed in the line of duty.

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