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Paramedics Were Denied Access Six Times To Help Those Wounded In Parkland, Fire Rescue Says
"It would have been more medics and more hands helping out,” said Coral Springs Fire Chief Frank Babinec.
When paramedics heard about the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, they were ready to save lives, they said — they just couldn't get into the school.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office denied six requests to send police and paramedics into the school during the Valentine's Day massacre that left 17 people dead, according to a newly released incident report.
"The [BSO] incident commander advised me, ‘She would have to check," Coral Springs Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Michael McNally wrote in his report, according to The Miami Herald. After another request minutes later, "Once again, the incident commander expressed that she ‘would have to check before approving this request,'" McNally wrote.
McNally said he wanted to send in two Rescue Task Force teams. Each team had three paramedics and three to four officers. Some of the rejected requests were made before suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, was caught, he said.
McNally said additional requests to send in help after Cruz' arrest were also denied. Instead, a SWAT team was sent in.
“I’m not saying the [Rescue Task Force teams] would have made a difference, and I’m not saying they wouldn’t have made a difference, but it would have been more medics and more hands helping out,” Coral Springs Fire Chief Frank Babinec told the Herald.
McNally, who was tasked with being a liaison between Coral Springs fire command and Broward County Sheriff’s Office, called the Broward County command post dysfunctional in his report.
A similar charge was made back in February by an emergency medical responder who asked to remain anonymous and told a reporter from WSVN in Miami, “Everything I was trained on mass casualty events says they did the wrong thing.”
Veda Coleman-Wright, a spokesperson for the Broward Sheriff's Office, told Oxygen.com that “during an active-killer incident, medics are sent in after it has been confirmed the threat is mitigated. Media will be able to provide a more accurate narrative to the public once all the facts are gathered and the investigation is completed and the findings from the independent reviews by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the MSD Commission are released.”
In a statement obtained by Oxygen.com, Michael Moser, the public information officer for Coral Springs Fire Department, said that Rescue Task Forces are not suppoed to be deployed into a 'hot zone' if it cannot be confirmed that the suspect is dead or out of the zone.
"Although we will not speak to the action of the Broward Sheriff's Office commanders, we are confident that this risk of danger to our paramedics was used in their decision making process," he said.
[Photo: Getty Images]