Ryan Starling, San Bernardino (CA) Fire Department paramedic and SWAT team member, spoke recently about the response to last week’s terrorist assault on the Inland Regional Center.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, amidst the carnage unfolding that day Starling focused on his training, moving from body to body to determine whether they were alive or dead.
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“In five seconds, you look at their skin color, their breathing and you feel their pulse,” Starling told the Times. Starling and his SWAT teammates had been training for just such a grim task minutes earlier, conducting active shooter drills less than 10 miles away. He said that when the first shooting reports arrived, his specialized team, already armed and dressed, switched out blanks for real rounds in their assault rifles and rushed to the scene. Starling, attached to the SWAT, moved in with them, and described their efforts to stabilize the scene.
Dan Harker, acting deputy fire chief for the city of San Bernardino, told the Times he is proud of his department’s response, but noted with regret that, under its plan to emerge from bankruptcy, the city voted this year to disband the 137-year-old fire department.
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