I just watched an amazing and informative press conference with the chief of Clark County FD, Greg Cassell. He related some information I had not heard from other channels that primarily focused on the police response to the event.
Their response started mere seconds after the gunfire started when an engine (Engine 11), returning to the station after an MVA, was passing by the concert venue. The sound of gunfire was noted and the officer in charge called in to dispatch just as wounded and fleeing concert-goers flooded into the street around them.
Here’s the press conference in full. Read on below for more of my notes.
In addition to relating the series of events from the fire department’s perspective, Chief Cassell also said much of what Jim Logan stressed in our episode earlier this week on the tragic events of Sunday night and Monday morning. The Las Vegas area fire departments and specifically Clark County FD’s hard work and training between other local agencies paid off.
Cassell said, “If this had happened 10 years ago, I can tell you many more people would have died.”
He also said that they never had a chance to set up a traditional transport staging area because as the responding EMS and fire units came in from all directions, they encountered fleeing victims spreading out blocks away from the venue. The responders’ training allowed them to improvise and stop where they were to begin care and stop patients at their locations. This meant multiple first-in units set up incident mass casualty treatment locations rather than a single event triage area.
Also of note, the overall joint task force ended up with SIXTEEN police/EMS task force units (2 PD officers and 3-4 Fire/EMS personnel each). They spread out to contact and secure patients and fleeing concert goers around the city sheltering in locations where there were reports of other shooters and wounded from the concert. These people were all in various surrounding hotels and venues away from the concert location. In total, there were 170+ total FD and EMS personnel in the response and transport of patients from the event.
Chief Cassell repeatedly said that in recent years they trained alongside PD and other area fire departments and agencies as if an attack on their city was a “when” not an “if” event. He was frank about how he’d presented on what they’d done to prepare at various conferences over the years and received a lukewarm response. He also said he believed his departments’s AAR (after action report) of this event’s response would lead to new standards across the country. (More of what our Jim Logan alluded to in the recent episode.)
You can check out our episode for more of our thoughts at the link below: