Maija McManus

First responders in Nashua carry new active shooter kits

Maija McManus
First responders in Nashua carry new active shooter kits


New active shooter kits are being used by police departments, fire departments and EMT units in one Granite State community following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Chris Stawasz, regional director for American Medical Response New Hampshire, said the level of urgency jumps significantly when any first responder is called to an active shooter scene.

"It's extremely high-stress," he said.

The weapons used in these situations typically cause more damage than the gunshot wounds they're used to dealing with, first responders said.

"Typical gunfire from a .22 or something is a very small hole. Some of these things are just massive destruction to the human body," Stawasz said.

"The most important piece of these active shooter events, which are generally over very quickly, is to get inside and rescue anybody who still has an opportunity to be saved," Stawasz said.

Four ambulances at AMR carry the bags. There are also six fire companies in Nashua that have them, and the police department also carries similar devices.

The kits are made up of equipment specifically needed in a mass-casualty event, including blood-clotting material, tourniquets and portable stretchers.

AMR officials said the kits allow their teams to act faster and more efficiently when every second counts.

“This is a kit that where we can deploy it really quickly, throw it into a scene and, if there's multiple casualties, you can use that kit as your primary source of equipment to go out and save these people,” Stawasz said.

Besides the kit, AMR conducts active shooter drills a number of times throughout the year.

"Unfortunately, these events are becoming far too common, and we want to be prepared in the city and respond to them if they do happen here," Stawasz said.

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