All Louisville first responders learning SWAT techniques in orde - WDRB 41 Louisville News

All Louisville first responders learning SWAT techniques in order to be prepared for anything

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mass shootings have become increasingly more common across the United States, putting not only law enforcement but first responders in the crosshairs. 

So Louisville Metro SWAT, Fire and EMS adopted a fairly new strategy called the Rescue Taskforce or RTF.

"Throughout recent events in history worldwide, there's been a need for an aggressive move to get in and start treating (victims) in a more quicker fashion," said Jason Meiman, Battalion Chief for the Louisville Fire Department.

SWAT Lieutenant Brent Routzahn trains firefighters and medics alongside his team, teaching them their tactics and techniques.

"In the past, we have cleared buildings and kept clearing, and you go by 20 minutes ... people have bled out that could have been saved," Routzahn said. "They need to learn how when we move. They need to learn our verbiage."

"It's very challenging for our firefighters because it's out of the norm for us," Meiman said. "We're not used to going into shooting incidents. We're not used to following the SWAT team."

They move in sync with SWAT members, which include three trauma surgeons and four paramedics.

"They go everywhere with us," Routzahn said. "They're actually up front with us. So if one of us go down or get hurt, and they need to defend us, they know how to operate the weapons, They know how to make them safe."

And while Meiman said his firefighters don't do weapons training, he admits it could come to that one day.

"We aren't currently nor are we looking for any training on how to use any type of weaponry," he said. "That may come later on down the road."

It's a very real possibility, given recent events.

"It does put us at risk, but time is of the essence when you're dealing with people's lives," Meiman said.

Routzahn said in the event of a mass-casualty event, SWAT would activate the RTF. Once the team neutralizes the situation, the task force would immediately move in to treat patients. 

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