Tallahassee Agencies Prepare for Active Shooter Emergencies with Help from Gordon Center

The Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is helping law enforcement agencies and medical responders save lives during active shooter emergencies.

Gordon Center Training
Tallahassee first-responders learn new techniques developed by the Gordon Center to deal with active shooters and give medical attention to victims. Credit: Shawn Mulcahy, FSU

Using a groundbreaking training program developed by the Gordon Center’s Section of Tactical Emergency Medicine, with support from the Florida Department of Education, first-responders from Tallahassee’s police and fire departments recently learned how to provide basic medical care interventions during the chaotic first few minutes of an active shooter situation.

Barry Issenberg, M.D., professor of medicine at the Miller School and director of the Gordon Center, said the training transforms the way responders deal with traumatic events. The Center previously worked on innovating responses to events like heart attacks and disasters, but in light of the state’s recent mass shootings, Dr. Issenberg said it’s time to expand focus.

Issenberg Gordon Center
Barry Issenberg, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and director of the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education

“The reception has been tremendous, particularly on the law enforcement side,” Dr. Issenberg said. “For the first time they’re learning how to apply medical care to victims hurt in a mass-casualty incident.”

The eight-hour course is designed for public safety first-responders including police and other law enforcement officers, as well as other non-medically trained personnel. Using rescue mannequin with missing limbs and open wounds, trainees learn basic techniques that can help save an injured victim’s life until EMS practitioners are able to safely enter an active shooting scene, including:

• Appropriate application of a tourniquet to the arm or leg
• Controlling hemorrhage, including direct pressure, wound packing and correct application of a topical hemostatic dressing (combat gauze)
• Appropriate airway control techniques and devices
• Tactically relevant indicators of shock

Gordon Center training
Tallahassee police officers and fire fighters practice applying a tourniquet to a Gordon Center rescue mannequin. Credit: Shawn Mulcahy, FSU

The Gordon Center’s active shooter training program was covered by a number of Tallahassee- area TV news stations, including this report from the local ABC affiliate, WTXL.