Home Original Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Shows Need for TEMS Teams

Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Shows Need for TEMS Teams


By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

If you ask a combat veteran how fast a firefight happens, he will tell you that it can happen in a surprisingly short amount of time. The same is true in active shooter situations.

It's critical therefore that emergency response is on the scene as quickly as possible to apprehend the shooter and save as many lives as possible. That’s why Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) teams are a critical component of any emergency response.

The Synagogue Shooting Timeline

According to CNN, the first 911 calls reported an active shooter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh at 9:54 a.m. Officers were dispatched to the scene one minute later. Within minutes of their arrival, one officer was wounded and an unknown number of worshippers were dead.

What ensued lasted about an hour while officers worked to secure the scene. CNN said that one tactical officer was quickly able to reach a victim, demonstrating the importance of tactically trained personnel.

In all, 11 worshippers were slain and four police officers were wounded.

The Need for Tactical Emergency Medical Support Teams

Most towns and cities have excellent teams trained in tactical response, particularly within law enforcement agencies. Whenever a situation is particularly dangerous, these teams are dispatched to the scene with the appropriate bullet-proof protection. More importantly, they know precisely how to react to an active shooter situation because of their extensive training.

However, many municipalities do not currently have TEMS teams. It’s no wonder that the American College of Emergency Physicians has urged the creation of more TEMS units across the country.

First responders trained in TEMS can enter a zone almost immediately to tend to the wounded. These units are known to provide a high survival rate and work well with SWAT teams.

As the frequency of active shooter incidents continues to rise, more and more municipalities will need to create TEMS teams. This will allow communities to be better prepared should an active shooter incident occur in their jurisdiction.

TEMS teams are an increasingly important part of public safety. They help to provide a healthy and safe environment for both law enforcement and the public.

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.