Rescue Task Force


I hope you saw this recent article in the news.  It details how Oakland County police and fire agencies are training together for active assailant situations where there are victims in the “hot” zone who need medical treatment. We have learned that there are sometimes victims at these scenes who died for lack of medical treatment who could have survived if they could have received medical treatment quicker.

Auburn Hills Police and Fire are early adopters of this important tactic.  We study each new active assailant event that occurs around the country to learn what we might do to improve on our training and tactics.  One aspect that came to light is that while police are pursuing and attempting to neutralize the assailant, his victims may be wounded and in need of quick treatment to survive.  The scene is not secure however and traditionally fire departments were reluctant to send their personnel into a hot scene because if they are injured or killed who will be left to treat anyone?

What we decided to do was to develop training that puts teams of police with teams of fire medics together to enter those zones, triage and provide enough treatment to extract the victims as quickly as possible.  Like police, firefighter medics have bullet resistant equipment and helmets.  The job of the officers is to guard the medics while they work.

We worked on our training for the first time 2 years ago in a local school.  It was fascinating to watch.

In this video you will see 2 police officers (front and back of the team) with 2 medics in between.  If you have had this kind of training in this community you might recognize Lt. Cas Miarka on screen to the left wearing a traffic vest.  He’s a coach in this training. The other person in a traffic vest is Sgt. Brandon Hollenbeck, also a coach.

We used the tactic again when we conducted a full scale training event at Great Lakes

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Rescue task force in action. Officers guarding medics who are helping victims.

Crossings complete with live actors who were “victims” made up with “injuries” to test the medics.  I came upon a group of medics who were in staging wearing vests and helmets for the first time -they were all in and taking selfies to mark the moment!

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Firefighters gearing up as a rescue task force.

We were pleased when Oak-Tac our Oakland County mutual aid organization for incidents of this type, adopted the protocols.  Departments all around the county are training.  The article mentions our personnel who train others:  Sgt. Jeremy Stubbs, Sgt. Brandon Hollenbeck, Officer Matt Halligan.

We hope to never use it but if it happens –we are ready.

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.