When we talk about brave men and women, we think of our military, police, and firefighters on a regular basis, and for good reason. However, we tend not to think about Emergency Medical Technicians.
In fairness, much of the time their work, while vital, isn’t what most folks consider “risky.” However, it’s also important to remember that these men and women are more than willing to put their lives on the line to save others. That was clear during the Parkland shooting when EMTs were more than willing to rush into a building with an active shooter present in hopes of saving some of those kids. Law enforcement on the scene wouldn’t allow it.
Inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High children lay dying. Outside, the Coral Springs deputy fire chief repeatedly asked a Broward sheriff’s commander for permission to send his medics inside the school but was rebuffed.
“The incident commander advised me: ‘She would have to check,’” Deputy Chief Michael McNally wrote in a report released Thursday by the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department.
At the time, the shooter had not been caught, creating a dangerous situation for all but a handful of specially trained SWAT paramedics that already were inside.
But McNally kept asking for permission for additional medics, assigned to a Rescue Task Force, to go into rooms that had already been searched and found to be safe, to quickly extract and treat the wounded. Again he said he was told by the sheriff’s commander that she “would have to check before approving this request.”
Even after authorities saw delayed surveillance footage showing the shooter had fled the building, those Coral Springs fire-rescue forces were not permitted in. By the time the whole building was deemed safe for them to enter, there was no need — everyone had already been brought out by police or was dead.
Reports of paramedics being kept, for their safety, from entering the school are another in a long line of miscues and missed opportunities in the Valentine’s Day tragedy that left 17 dead. The FBI and the Broward Sheriff’s Office had warnings before the shooting that the gunman, a troubled 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, could shoot up a school but failed to intervene. An armed sheriff’s deputy based at the school took cover outside instead of storming the building to confront Cruz. And school officials and mental health counselors failed to hospitalize him for psychiatric treatment, despite serious concerns about his stability and his obsession with guns.
For the record, I find it interesting that the EMTs were willing to enter the building, but the school resource officer charged with protecting those children wouldn’t.
But enough about him.
It’s not unusual for the authorities to keep medical personnel out of high-risk situations for various reasons, which makes sense. The last thing you want to do is give a bad guy more targets or even potential hostages. However, this was taken to a ridiculous extreme by not allowing EMTs to enter the building after they knew the risk had passed.
How many of those kids could have been saved if they’d gotten treatment a little bit earlier? The truth is, we’ll never really know, but I can’t help but think it would be at least a handful.
Meanwhile, these are the same authorities who have been blaming guns and the NRA for the loss of life at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Funny how every time we learn something new, it’s about how they managed to cost people lives. Tell me again, how is the NRA responsible?
Oh yeah, it’s not.