RESCUE TASK FORCE
Following the active shooter events in Columbine, Blacksburg, Aurora, and Sandy Hook it was clear that it was no longer acceptable to wait for SWAT teams to make entry and secure the scene. Historically, EMS providers staged a safe distance away until police methodically checked the area before permitting EMS to access victims. The Rescue Task Force (RTF) concept is a proven model that integrates trained medical responders with law enforcement into potentially hostile situations to provide rapid medical treatment and triage. Once patients are located, they are extricated to a casualty collection point where secondary triage, treatment and transport to a hospital can be initiated. RTF members are outfitted with ballistic vests, ballistic helmets, and other protective gear, and are specifically trained and equipped to deal with violence-induced trauma.
Successful operation within a tactical environment requires additional knowledge and skills not provided in the standard fire or EMS curriculum. This training includes: TECC (Tactical Emergency Casualty Care) directed medical care and triage procedures, understanding of the unique RTF ICS structure, and advanced patient extrication techniques. Supplementary tactical training is obtained in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies. Rescue Task Force personnel also coordinate the community "Stop the Bleed" program. This course teaches civilians bleeding control techniques including the use of tourniquets and hemostatic agents. The Port Washington Fire Department Rescue Task Force was established in 2016, and was the first of its kind in Ozaukee County.