The photo above appeared on FFN today- I'm curious to know what your department training and SOP's would dictate for such a situation.


We don't have any, but for me, If I need armed protection like this, then I'm letting it burn till the scene is confirmed safe. There's a reason the Police are armed and wearing PPE like this.....

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I guess I'll be the first to say "What were they thinking?"

The cops are trained to use Cover and Concealment. Firefighters are neither, but they will act as bullet sponges for some of the rounds that may be fired at the cops by the perp(s).

Then there's the interesting mix of PPE. Two cops in tactical gear, one bareheaded, one firefighter in full PPE and SCBA, the officer in PPE but no SCBA, and the nozzleman in at least some PPE although he's mostly hidden behind a cop.

I'm thinking that the SCBA and turnouts won't stop bullets and that the plastic LEO tactical helmets and firearms won't stop fire and smoke, but maybe these guys know something I don't.
We have a couple of our departments Fire Captain Paramedics trained to work along side the Sheriff's Department SWAT team. Even though after the Los Angeles Rodney King riots all SoCal engine companies were issued bullet proof vests, we, the fire department typically do not enter the scene until law enforcement deams the area safe and issues an all clear communication to everyone. There is more to this photo than meets the eye.
Photo comes from the incident in El Cajon, California where a police investigation quickly turned into an officer shot (the video making the rounds of the officer shot in the neck, being rescued) and suspect setting the house on fire during the standoff. A helicopter made a number of water drops on the burning home during the event.

More and videos,
El Cajon Officer Wounded in Head Makes Remarkable Recovery

We are trained to respond and stage a safe distance from the scene,usually with the paramedics,and maimtain this position until police declare the sight safe. This policy came about after a disgruntled ex employee in a glove manufacturing plant shot and killed two and injured four.
We are trained to stay at the station and make coffee until the LEO's arrest (or otherwise disarm) the situation. We are not trained or equipped to be anywhere near a situation like that, so we dont go. The house can be rebuilt. The fire may very well chase out the perp too so let it burn.
Ofcourse I live in rural farmland so I guess the only time I would see a SWAT team is for a serial cow tipper...lol


From a different angle.
Good photo highlighting everything that's wrong with this situation....
I have my dealing with stand offs. One we got called for a shooting and had ambulance, medic and engine dispatched. I was driving the ambulance and rolled on the street and then realized we were in the middle of the incident with the police. I had to radio for the rest of the assignment to stop where they were. It turned out there was no one shot or around the house.
Another incident were told to stage at the end of the street with a officer there. Someone had come home and found the front door open and blood all over the foyor and no one answered their calls. SWAT showed entered the house and found no one inside and then the people came home from the hospital after they had been cut by broken glass.
A few times we have had incidents to show up before the police and walk right into the mess.
Did they also issue turnout gear and SCBAs to the police officers?

That was just to make the point that defensive actions like body armor are a long way from making tactical mistakes like mixing police and fire responses to an active shooter, even if there is a fire.

I'm still thinking

1) Life Safety
2) Incident Stabilization
3) Property Conservation
4) Environmental Conservation

...in that order here.

The risk to the firefighters lives from the active shooter in 1) trumps the need to protect property in 3).
This is one of those situations where i'm glad our dispatchers are good at their job. If its a known violent situation or that weapons are involved upon fire/ems getting dispatched they give us an intersection near the scene to respond to. Once a unit is on the way they advise us that this is a staging area and that they will advise when LEO have the scene secure. Once the scene is secure then we are given the particulars unless an officer/supervisor has called in already. They have pretty much taken it out of our hands so knuckle dragging truckies like me dont do something stupid and rush in.

The exception to this was when the EMS company I worked for was involved in and EMS strike team and assisted State Troopers with meth lab busts. Normally first truck was hazmat suited troopers, second truck was dea agents or other swat style and equipped units, third was ems and fourth was fire. EMS was placed third in case anything happened to passengers in first two units and our sole responsibility in the beginning was treating officers. Once they gave the all clear we would start treating and deconing the bad guys (and normally their families who lived there)
Pull the engine up, use it for cover, and hit it with the deck gun.
That sounds like an expensive way to get firefighters killed unnecessarily.

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