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Edwards AFB Fire & Emergency Services and 412th Security Forces Squadron forge Rescue Task Force

  • Published
  • By Daniel Wolf
  • Edwards AFB Fire & Emergency Services

Edwards Air Force Base conducted a successful anti-terrorism base exercise culminating in a simulated active shooter incident at the Desert High School, August 12 and 13. Edwards Air Force Base, in line with Air Force and Department of Defense guidance has a semi-annual requirement to accomplish active shooter incident exercises.

This requirement is driven by the need to ensure that installation personnel are prepared in case of an active shooter incident as well as appropriately posture first and emergency responders so they are ready, trained and able to protect life and property.

As communities and first and emergency responders learn from the unfortunate number of shootings that occur in the U.S., potentially more effective response paradigms are identified. One such change to responder tactics that was developed from lessons learned from shootings around the nation is an innovative joint effort between Fire and Emergency Services personnel and Security Forces Defenders commonly referred to as the Rescue Task force (RTF). 

Before the development of RTF concept, many victims in active shooter incidents were at risk of dying from injuries and trauma at the scene given the delay in transport to emergency medicine as police, law enforcement or, on an Air Force base, Security Forces cleared the scene. This delay was due to the extremely effort intensive nature of ensuring the shooter is apprehended or stopped before more harm could be done.

The confusion, uncertainties, and outright chaos of these violent events often delayed the treatment and transport of patients. Many victims of these shootings tragically succumbed to their injuries, but could have been saved, had they been transported more quickly or emergency medicine been provided.

The Rescue Task Force concept is intended to make the difference for these victims, providing emergency medicine at the scene, decreasing the delay in transport by accepting a higher volume of risk to responders in order to save lives. This concept teams Fire and Emergency Services personnel and Security Forces Defenders together so that they may begin a rescue effort shortly after Security Forces has engaged the perpetrators.

In the RTF concept, Defenders serve as armed escorts as firefighters provide live-saving bleeding control and move victims to safety for preparation for follow-on rapid transport. This concept requires deliberate specific training and changes to Security Forces and Fire and Emergency Services tactics, techniques and procedures in order to function smoothly, all in the service of protecting others.

From the lessons learned from other active shooter incidents, those victims who make it to a hospital alive, generally survive given the incredible efforts of medical professionals. The emergency medicine and reduction in time to transport for future victims will increase the number of survivors.

As the saying in the responder community goes: “seconds matter.” Emergency responders are always willing to “risk a lot to save a lot,” and in this case, it is the responders themselves willing to risk their well-being in order to save future victims. The Rescue Task Force concept allows those who signed up to make a difference, an even greater opportunity to take action and save lives.     

Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.