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  • Writer's pictureiCare Community Magazine

Community Law, Order, and Safety

From the Sheriff, Ken J. Mascara

Deputies and firefighters in St. Lucie County are now better prepared to save you in the event of an active shooter incident. Partnering together, the St. Lucie County Sheriff ’s Office and the St. Lucie County Fire District have launched an innovative training program called S.A.V.E. – Swift Assisted Victim Extraction.

This program pairs law enforcement with firefighter/ paramedics in an active shooter incident to quickly enter the scene, protect the medical personnel and extract victims in order to get them lifesaving treatment.

Based out of the lessons learned from mass shootings like Columbine, Aurora, Colorado, San Bernardino, California, and the Orlando Pulse Nightclub, this training changes the culture of delaying medical treatment until the scene is completely secure. The S.A.V.E. program was developed by Jerry Mitchum and the Boone County Sheriff ’s Office in Columbia, Missouri and enhances on-scene emergency care, recovery and extraction of persons in situations where standard law enforcement and emergency medical procedures will no longer suffice.

This forging of law enforcement and fire/emergency medical personnel creates one seamless team to minimize and mitigate the loss of life and serious bodily injury. The S.A.V.E. team consists of four law enforcement members who make a protective perimeter around the paramedics, shuttling them to the wounded and then back out, delivering victims to awaiting ambulatory transport to a hospital.

Partnerships like this between the Sheriff ’s Office and Fire District are on the rise due to a strengthened and expanded relationship and shift in priories to break down barriers between agencies. In the last several years, the two agencies have partnered on integrating Fire District paramedics into the Sheriff ’s Office SWAT Team.

Through a highly competitive selection process, paramedics are chosen and complete the Florida Law Enforcement Auxiliary Academy, along with a 40- hour SWAT school and become sworn law enforcement members of the SWAT Team. They now deploy shoulder to shoulder with the Sheriff ’s Office SWAT members to provide emergency medical treatment, should the incident require it. The SAVE program is just another evolution in the growing partnership between these two agencies. More than 300 deputies and 500 firefighter/ paramedics have been trained in the S.A.V.E. program. The result is a more comprehensive response to emergency situations, providing you, the residents we serve day in and day out, a new level of safety and protection.

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