LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With the Uvalde shooting still on the nation’s mind, those who deal with the aftermath can often be hidden by tragedy.

First responders are the first on scene during a crisis situation, having to assess and triage while dealing with unthinkable horror and loss. In Little Rock, teams of first responders and medical experts train for such situations, including natural disasters and mass shooting drills that depict scenarios they might face in real life.

At UAMS, training is done once a year for mass shooting and mass casualty events, situations they may likely face as the only level one trauma center in the state.

Dr. Randy Maddox, director of emergency medicine for UAMS, has dealt with it all: plane crashes, mass shootings, hurricanes, and tornados – ready for anything that may come his way.

He says when a crisis happens, the first step in the medical field is the hospital being alerted by first responders on the scene, telling them to stand by for lots of patients in dire need of help.

“It alerts the operating room, it alerts everyone in the emergency department, it alerts our trauma surgeons,” Dr. Maddox explained, revealing doctors and nurses are also called in via an alert system.

When a call comes in, the work starts in the ambulance bay where patients are triaged from the walking wounded to top priority.

Dr. Maddox said, “we have three different codes, sometimes four different codes we use to kind of categorize patients, ones we would help immediately, some that are beyond help.”

Patients are then sent to various departments and rooms based on their needs.

But before the victims head to the hospital, they start at the scene where three different teams work in tandem.  In Little Rock, MEMS, LRPD, and LRFD all train together for this exact situation – working to communicate what needs to happen when and who needs the most help.

“The better outcomes have come about because of that integration of services and that working together, “ said Clayton Goddard with MEMS.

Cpt. Jacob Lear-Sadowsky with LRFD added, “the goal of this is to kind of provide a higher level of care at each step.”

Police are first on the scene, providing immediate medical care in the form of tourniquets and chest seals. Then, fire arrives with their EMTs and finally, ambulance service with paramedics – all working together before that patient even enters a trauma bay.

First responders add bystanders and civilians can make all the difference. By learning how to “stop the bleed” and CPR, those nearby can save a life before the sirens are even heard.

To learn more, contact your local fire, paramedic, or police station. Or, check out these links: