EMS, Leadership, News, Video

Seattle Fire Department Responds to Criticism in Fatal CHOP Shooting

Risk to enter without escort was too high

FirefighterNation Staff

SEATTLE – KIRO reports that after a fatal shooting in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone (CHOP) critics are accusing the Seattle Fire Department of failing to help.

Seattle police told KIRO the scene was so dangerous they could not immediately enter.  Seattle Fire said their protocol is to wait for police escort into volatile situations.

A protestor told KIRO that much of the criticism was the reaction to the Seattle Fire refusing to enter the scene without police protection.

NFFF Response to Violent Incidents: Nine Questions You Should Ask

Seattle Fire provided a response about the incident,

The Seattle Fire Department policy for Scenes of Violence is to wait for law enforcement to secure the scene before sending crews in to respond. For the safety of our crews, this is also in effect for fire and medical emergencies at East Olive Street, East Pine Street and East Pike Street from 13th Avenue to Nagel Place which includes the area on 10th Avenue and the south end of Cal Anderson Park. Our crews do not have training to go into a volatile situation to extract patients, which is why we have instructed people to walk or bring the patients to the perimeter of the crowd or transport in a private vehicle to the hospital to expedite medical treatment.

For the June 20 shooting, we can confirm that our units did not leave the perimeter of the scene until we received a report from one of our medic units located at Harborview Medical Center that the two shooting victims had arrived via private vehicles.

Our mission is to save lives and protect property, but we must keep our firefighters and paramedics safe so we can continue to help people. This was a scene where the risk was too high to commit our crews to respond in without a police escort

This is a very dynamic and tough situation for our crews, and has led us to think outside of our normal response strategies to ensure patients receive medical treatment. In an effort to expedite medical care for patients requiring transport to a hospital, last night we loaned two sets of a wheeled stretcher and basic medical supplies to a group of volunteers providing first aid within the vicinity. Additionally, we had previously provided mega movers (for moving patients) and fire extinguishers to this same group. We have also pre-designated patient collection points for our crews to meet the volunteer medical staff just outside the boundaries of the designated area. We can confirm that these locations have been communicated to the volunteer medical staff. For security reasons and to avoid a large crowd gathering at these locations, we are not sharing publicly where they are located.