Home Innovation The Rescue Task Force Could Change Active Shooter Scenarios

The Rescue Task Force Could Change Active Shooter Scenarios


The Journal of Emergency Medical Services published an article in May 2014 about a new concept termed the "Rescue Task Force." The Rescue Task Force is essentially a trained team that is equipped to enter an active shooter situation once the police have apprehended the suspect.

It is technically a warm zone, but experts call it a tremendous life-saving effort. Patients in an active shooter scenario now can be danger of bleeding out, as protocols may dictate that Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics cannot enter a scene until police officially clear it.

The Rescue Task Force is a revolutionary idea in the management of these delicate situations. But there is also a lot of concern in the public safety community regarding how the management of this event may risk the lives of emergency medical technicians, paramedics and firefighters.

Concerns About the Rescue Task Force

The New York Post recently published an article explaining some of the concerns for first responders. The article detailed how some New York City firefighters felt the Rescue Task Force concept is incredibly dangerous.

According to the article, some feel those in the management of these scenarios would not be putting first responders in harm’s way. Of course, with change there will always be individuals that are concerned about the changes in how scenarios are handled. But when it comes to the Rescue Task Force, there are certainly myriad concerns both for the survival of shooting victims and for the safety of first responders.

Active Shooter Scenarios Are Changing

Numerous scholars have noted that active shooters have changed tactics drastically in the last few years. Thus, how scenarios like this are handled need to adapt, too. It could be the one thing that saves a lot of lives that would have been lost in previous active shooter scenarios.

The concept, however, is a delicate issue – so delicate that it is something that has been largely researched and ironed out by municipalities looking to do it.

Multiple law enforcement agencies, for example, have worked to iron out how the Rescue Task Force would specifically work. It has changed how active shooter scenarios would be handled in the future. But, there will be components to the idea that need further development, especially as active shooter scenarios continue to evolve.

Ultimately, the Rescue Task Force is an important concept for emergency managers, law enforcement and emergency medcal services (EMS) agencies to contemplate. The idea could save lives, but it needs to be carefully integrated into the emergency management plans of municipality to make sure that it works well for the department.

Lives are at stake, both for those responding to the emergency and shooting victims.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.