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In an effort to keep DHS.gov current, the archive contains outdated information that may not reflect current policy or programs.

Responder News: DHS Recommends Steps to Save Lives

Release Date: July 15, 2015

Recently, the DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA) released a report with guidance for first responders on how to integrate response protocols from the U.S. military into civilian first responder scenarios. The guidance focused primarily on lessons learned from treating military injuries due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and active shooter events. Knowledge from the military informed this report along with considerations specific to first responders. DHS OHA brought together representatives from military and civilian first response organizations to collaborate, draft and make recommendations for first responders in the report.

The U.S. military’s medical experiences led to the creation of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) in the late 1990s. TCCC is a set of prehospital guidelines, or lessons learned, for the battlefield that focus on the three types of wounds that most commonly lead to death in combat: hemorrhages, airway obstructions and lung collapse. The report uses the TCCC guidelines as the basis for its medical response protocols.

In addition to specific medical protocols, the guidelines provide civilian first responders with operational considerations. These include increased coordination and integration between fire, search and rescue, and EMS personnel; adding external hemorrhage control as a core skill for law enforcement; increased use of protective equipment; and taking down some of the traditional barriers between first responder disciplines to deliver better care to victims and others injured due to IEDs or shooters.

The second half of the report is focused on 10 scenarios that can be used for training exercises or educational purposes. The scenarios function as stand-alone drills or for use alongside another scenario. Each scenario has recommendations for first responders on how to plan and respond. The scenarios include small, medium and large scale terror attacks, with active shooter events taking place at sports facilities, in the outdoors, or in other large public spaces.

DHS OHA focuses on all things medical and health-related. The office works to provide health and medical advice, build resilience against a health incident, and helps enhance EMS and other medical first responder capabilities across the country.

To read more about how DHS OHA developed this document, please visit the DHS Blog.

Last Updated: 01/12/2023
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