By Ms. LaTrice Langston (IMCOM)June 15, 2018
The loud noises and presence of additional military and civilian police on Fort Jackson June 7 was part of a greater plan for Fort Jackson Emergency Management Services, Fire Department and Richland County Sheriff's Department to avoid future failure in mass causality situations.
"It's all about best practices, most people don't realize that the Fort Jackson Command and Richland County Sheriff's Department have a great working relationship," said Lt. Dominick Pagano, Richland County Sheriff Department SWAT Team tactical commander. "It is because of this relationship that they are able to learn from and assist in protecting our communities."
"Today's event's are based on law enforcement military tactics focused on how quickly we are able to get into buildings that are fortified; either the doors or locked or the bad guys have chained or bolted the doors," Pagano said. "This training allows us to gauge how quickly we are able to get in there and mitigate the situation to save lives."
This multi-faceted training followed the path as if it was actually happening.
"We are partnered up with fire and EMS out here as well and they will work some of the rescue taskforce concepts, so once we go in and neutralize the treat; the second part of that is about saving lives so they will be coming behind us to help treat triage and pull people out." Pagano explained.
Lt. Steven Hamilton with the Fort Jackson Fire Department and former Reserve Deputy with Richland County Sheriff Department described the training as "an all-encompassing training with the integration of law enforcement, fire and EMS responding to mass causalities from intentional acts, so it is not just active shooter, it could be a litany of different things."
The role Fort Jackson Fire Department played in the training reflects its actual mission, Hamilton said.
"Our focus is victim extraction; first response treatment triage, treatment and things like that," he said. "The Fire Department's traditional biggest role is the removal of victims out to what is called causality collection points so that EMS can transport them."
Fort Jackson Fire Department, EMS and Richland County first responders utilized a now vacant building on Fort Jackson to conduct the active shooter exercise.
According to Captain Michael Prichett, of the Richland County Sheriff's Department, the use of these structures provided unique challenges for first responders that allow them to better prepare of unknown situations.
"This training prepares us to go into any type of structure; any type of situation that we may encounter and be ready to deal with the situation; if the need arises," he said.
Prichett said the opportunity to train on Fort Jackson provides a lot of hands on training because it "is a fantastic opportunity for the guys to train on this building … and it's a good opportunity because every structure we go into is different and communication is a must. "