June 27 2016
Burlington Police and Fire Departments Engage in Active Shooter Training
Burlington’s first responders have been training for the possibility of a scenario all too common these days.
Police Chief Michael Kent and Fire Chief Steve Yetman said in a statement that the Burlington Police and Fire Departments completed an active shooter simulation, which allowed officers the opportunity to practice coordinating a response to an emergency and to create a comprehensive strategy to manage a hypothetical crisis.
According to the release, more than 100 officers and firefighters participated in the training, which took place at the Burlington Mall on April 24. The training, hosted in conjunction with the Burlington Fire Department, Simons Property Management, and Allied Barton Security, also included police officers from the following departments: Burlington, Lexington, Billerica, Bedford, and Danvers.
“We were honored to work with so many other police departments and safety organizations on this drill," Chief Kent said. "The exercise allowed us to test our emergency response practices across multiple departments, which prepared us all for more effective crisis management when a real-life situation arises."
The simulated training began with an active shooter walking throughout the mall, firing blanks with a pistol, the release states. Pre-determined search routes sent the officers through the main hallways, staircases, and back hallways before finishing in the food court.
The Burlington Rescue Task Force (RTF), a merger of the police and fire departments, was also implemented during the drill, authorities say. In the simulation, four Burlington police officers escorted a four-man fire RTF unit through the mall into the food court, where the unit assessed a patient and brought him to an ambulance.
The RTF is a partnership between the Burlington Police and Fire Departments that allows an efficient joint response to critical and dangerous incidents. The coordination of the task force allows the fire department’s medical personnel to respond to an area before the police can declare the area to safe from threats. Now a developing public safety practice nationwide, Burlington adopted the joint response early in RTF's curriculum.
Participants in last month's drill were divided into 10 four-man multi-jurisdictional teams. All units completed the training and engaged in a post-training debriefing, where organizers offered both praise and constructive criticism.
“The RTF unit is expected to revolutionize how public safety departments respond to emergencies in crises such as an active shooter situation,” Chief Yetman said. “We, as Burlington public safety officers, are proud to lead the way in this smart collaboration."