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Officials: Las Vegas responders trained extensively for mass casualty event

"We were able to handle it because of our people, our training, our professionalism and our equipment and our relationships,” Chief Greg Cassell said


By EMS1 Staff

LAS VEGAS — Officials said Las Vegas emergency responders spent years training for a mass casualty event before the music festival massacre.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that emergency crews responded within five seconds, and used knowledge learned from past mass casualty events to prepare for such an incident.

“We knew what to do,” Clark County Fire Department Chief Greg Cassell said. “It was much grander than we ever envisioned. However, we were able to handle it because of our people, our training, our professionalism and our equipment and our relationships.”

Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Branden Clarkson, who specializes in multiagency counterterrorism, said responders began training together in 2009 after attacks in Mumbai, India.

“Our job is to work with all first responding agencies and coordinate a response,” Clarkson said.

Drills for hospitals, hotels, schools and malls were put into place, “Because that’s where historically these things are taking place,” according to Chief Cassell.

Chief Cassell said responders transported almost 200 people to hospitals, with a wide range of injuries such as high-powered gunshot wounds, sprains, trampling injuries and cuts.

Chief Cassell praised everyone involved who risked their lives to rescue people.

“They performed wonderfully under fire, literally under fire, taking care of patients that were right there in front of them in a drastic, very bad situation,” he said.

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