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Task force ready for threats

The Vancouver Police Department is working with the city's firefighters, paramedics and emergency communication provider to create what it calls a rescue task force capable of responding to active deadly threats.

Supt. Steve Eely says under the initiative, police will continue to be responsible for locating a threat and making an area safe, but once that is done other members of the task force will have key roles.

Police officers will work with firefighters to stabilize and extract people who are wounded to designated safe zones, where Emergency Health Services paramedics can do further treatment and transport them to hospital.

Training began last fall in the classroom and in exercises that simulate an attack, with more than 700 police officers and 400 firefighters trained to date.

Police say paramedics and staff with emergency communications provider E-Comm are involved in the newest training model.

The rescue task force is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at ensuring public safety in Vancouver during an active deadly threat.

Eely says police training has evolved in response to active deadly threats in other parts of the world.

"By partnering and training with other emergency services personnel, we can ensure a more effective response that will help to keep victims alive by getting them medical treatment much faster," he says in a news release issued Friday.

Capt. Jonathan Gormick of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services says preparing for such a "low frequency, high consequence event is no different than ongoing investments in disaster and earthquake preparedness."

First responders must "train, practice, and prepare, but hope never to deploy," he says.



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