Ep 42: Common Day One Training Problems

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Episode 42: Common Day One Training Problems

On this week's podcast, we discuss the common obstacles you may encounter during day one of training.

Bill Godfrey:

Welcome to the Active Shooter Incident Management podcast. My name is Bill Godfrey. We appreciate you tuning in today and today's topic, we are actually going to spend some time talking about some of the common challenges that we see on the first day of training.

Our goal here is for those out there that are ASIM basic trainers, or they have a departmental responsibility for conducting some sort of active shooter training, or you're trying to do some internal training on active shooter incident management, we wanted to share with you some of the common things that we see, some of the common problems, so that you can watch out for them, and maybe try to adjust in your curriculum.

As usual, I've got three of the fantastic instructors from C3 Pathways here with me today. On the law enforcement side, we got Robert McMahan in the house. Robert, how are you?

Robert McMahan:

I'm here in all my spectacularness.

Bill Godfrey:

That's fantastic. And we have Mark Rhame from Fire-EMS, Mark.

Mark Rhame:

Hoping some of Robert will rub off on me.

Bill Godfrey:

And Mr. Billy Perry from the law enforcement side. Billy, how are you?

Billy Perry:

Great. Thanks for having me here.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely. So let's dig in. So I thought guys that this might make the most sense to just take it in order, start with contact teams and the RTFs, and talk about tactical triage and transport, some of the challenges that we see in the command post staging, and dispatch. So with that, let's start off with talking about the contact team.

Billy, you spent a lot of time as the contact team coach downrange. Tell me about the day one challenges, the stuff that the first couple of scenarios, they just really struggle with.

Billy Perry:

Across the board, you can watch it. And you see it, you actually can see it in their eyes, for lack of a better word, that they know what to do, they know to go through the checklist, but they don't do it. And they try to alter and try to shortcut, they get overwhelmed. You watch them freeze. They undergo cognitive freezing. And it's because they don't have enough repetitions, enough correct repetitions, and they do get mission lock because of trying to do too many things at one time.

Bill Godfrey:

I've listened to a number of those first size up reports that are coming out of there. I'm not often in the room when they're doing them, but I'm listening to them on the radio. How much work is it on your part on those first one or two scenarios to get a size up report out of them?

Billy Perry:

It is so much, and you have to say it five or six times. Go ahead and get the size up report. Go ahead and go through the checklist. Go ahead and go through the checklist. And sometimes they'll even say, and they're not being obstinate and they're not being adversarial or militant, they're just, I did. Well, no, you didn't. You may have done it in your mind but you didn't actually say it radio.

Bill Godfrey:

You didn't actually say it radio.

Billy Perry:

It is a challenge, but it happens all over. Every class, virtually.

Bill Godfrey:

It does.

Billy Perry:

It's not geographic. It's not demographic. It just is.

Bill Godfrey:

Happens in the face-to-face classes, the virtual classes.

Billy Perry:

Happens in real life.

Bill Godfrey:

Happens in real life.

Billy Perry:

Spoiler alert.

Bill Godfrey:

Robert, how about you? You've spent a fair amount of time doing contact coaching as well. What are the common things that you see?

Robert McMahan:

Besides what Billy mentioned, forgetting who your boss is, and talking back to your boss, your contact teams.

Bill Godfrey:

Saying command as opposed to tactical.

Robert McMahan:

Using the word command instead of tactical. But talking to your boss is a big thing, and giving those size up reports to your boss, and that comes through repetition of training, just like everything else we do, whether it's hooking up hoses to fire trucks, or shooting bullets down range, it takes a lot of repetition to get that down. And as the classes progress, they get better. But I think that talking to the boss is the number one for me.

Bill Godfrey:

How about keeping the boss, keeping tactical, updated about where they are and what they're doing? Is that a challenge?

Billy Perry:

Yes and no. That does vary. Sometimes they do it too much, because tactical's busy and they need to stay in their mission lane. And sometimes they don't do it, obviously, near enough. And there is a fine balance. And one of the things that we forget is this, like shooting, Robert likened it to shooting and doing the other skillsets that the firefighters have, it's a perishable skill and if you don't do it, it goes away.

Bill Godfrey:

You better practice. Mark, how about you? I realize you and I are a little bit disadvantaged on the contact side because we're a couple of fire guys, but is there anything that you've seen that sticks out at you that Billy and Robert haven't already mentioned?

Mark Rhame:

I think sometimes they over complicate it. I mean, frankly, sometimes the easiest path is the best path, and especially in the training environment. I think Billy mentioned that earlier, that following the checklist is probably the simplest road you can take in regard to this training environment. And whatever training environment you're at, there's probably some internal checklist that you need to make sure you get that stuff done, and for some reason they get off that path. They wander off into the weeds or something like that and they're starting to do someone else's job. As much as we keep telling them, say, do your job, stay on your path, you've got one boss, answer to that one boss, for some reason they think they have to talk or go another direction.

I'll give you example, what a reason we keep telling law enforcement that the RTFs are built out in staging, but they're owned by triage. And it doesn't matter how many times you tell the law enforcement officer who's the staging manager, when they sit there and say, well, I need to deploy RTFs and go, no, no, no, no, you're getting out of your lane. Stay in your lane. Don't make it more complicated than it is. Get those tasks done that you're assigned to do, and your road's going to be so much easier.

Billy Perry:

I forgot something.

Bill Godfrey:

Okay, go.

Billy Perry:

The three priorities of work. Active threat, rescue, and then clear. And instead of ARC, they CAR, they ACR. Seriously I mean...

Bill Godfrey:

They forget the order. We see that a lot.

Billy Perry:

It's crucial, because you can't rescue until you put doofus down.

Bill Godfrey:

Or unless he's left the scene, because that's the other thing we see, is we clear up all this little stuff on day one, we roll into day two and they're starting to look stronger, and then we give them a suspect where there was shooting when they arrived on scene but the shooting stops and they don't know why.

Billy Perry:

And then they left.

Bill Godfrey:

They just can't get out of clear mode. They can't stop and switch gears. So, yeah, interesting. So those are all good topics for contact teams. Let's talk a little bit about rescue task forces. Mark, you mentioned that. What's the things that jump into your mind about the RTFs, day one, common issues?

Mark Rhame:

Well, I would say in the beginning, we'd struggle sometimes in those first couple of scenarios of getting people to lean forward, building out their teams. And then as much as we talk about it, in real world, especially, but also in training, that's when you got to get the team together, and introduce themselves, and talk about what the rules are, rules of engagement, if you will. And as much as we talk about it, we just generally don't see it when we're in the scenarios.

They got to flip that mindset that this should reflect real-world, what you train, you should be doing that same thing. We'll make those assignments, people who were on RTFs, and then they just go in their own little corner of the room until they get assigned to the room. Well, that's the time they should be sitting next to each other and going, guys, here's the rules. I'm going to be one talking on the radio, here's the equipment we're going to carry, all those rules need to be done in staging, and we just don't see it that much.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think the one that sticks out to me is, you said it earlier, you can see in their eyes that they know what they're supposed to be doing, but they don't quite get that engaged with action. So they'll come rolling into the room, into the casualty collection point, and they just look around and vapor lock a little bit, they're just not sure what to do. Not sure where to start. Not sure who to talk to. Not sure who talks to who or where to start when, of course, what we always say to them is, okay, you've rolled into the casualty collection point. There's a contact team here that got this started. Let's get a briefing from them. Get them to tell you what's going on and what they already know, and then let's divvy this thing up and go to work.

Mark Rhame:

The weird thing is that from real-world experience for me, I always believed that it was actually easier to be in charge than it is actually to get the task and be told to go out and do something. Give you an example, that first RTF we tell them over and over again, when you come into that casualty collection point, at that point in time, you've got to take control of that room medically. And to me, it's a lot easier if that first RTF, if you come in there and go, okay, RTF twp, you got that patient there, RTF three, you got this patient over here, and give assignments to other people. For some reason, there's that vapor lock when they walk into that casualty collection point, that first RTF team, and they don't take control of that room medically.

Bill Godfrey:

It is something that we see get cleared up on days two and three, but it's a very common first day issue. So Robert, what about you? What have you commonly seen the RTFs, day one, common RTF mistakes as they come in the room?

Robert McMahan:

Well, again, it's that communication back to triage, trying to sort out and get those patient counts right. That's a crucial thing. And I find over in tactical triage and transport that they're always looking for that, and there's a lot of numbers thrown out there, and that's fine in the beginning, but eventually you got to get those numbers tied down as to how many red, greens, and yellows you have, and make sure you got the right resources to get them out of there.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely. Billy, how about you? What jumps out at you?

Billy Perry:

The same thing that everybody else has said. Just the trepidation and the unknowing of what to do, and that's also in the checklist. That's another thing. A poor plan vigorously executed beats no plan at all, generally.

Bill Godfrey:

That was Patton. Some version of that.

Billy Perry:

Exactly. So maybe Franklin, Lincoln, but that's a good plan. The checklist is actually a good, vetted plan. And so, I mean, if you just simply do that, it not only works in the exercises, it works in real life. I mean, it's a crazy concept.

Robert McMahan:

You mentioned trepidation. I see that a lot too. They get in there, a lot of things are going on. They don't know, well, am I really supposed to do that? Well, yeah, you are. Do something.

Billy Perry:

Look for work.

Robert McMahan:

Look for work. Go save lives.

Billy Perry:

Go do great things.

Robert McMahan:

Yes. Right.

Bill Godfrey:

Mark, you got any others that you want to throw on there, or we want to move on?

Mark Rhame:

In regards to RTFs?

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah.

Mark Rhame:

No, good.

Bill Godfrey:

All right. So we covered contact teams, we covered RTFs, let's talk about tactical triage and transport, and then I think we'll jump to staging command, and then talk a little bit about dispatch. So tactical triage and transport, you want to lead us off Robert? What are the common things you're seeing there?

Robert McMahan:

Communication. And first of all, it's the communication within the room at that post where tactical triage and transport are located, And generally in training, we get that accomplished early on because we're in there coaching them and telling them, communicate. They'll ask the instructor, well, where's this, or do they have security, I'm like, well, talk to your counterpart right there and ask them, because that's who's in charge of it.

We get that ironed out pretty quick, but it tends to fall apart at the actual incident. We don't get those people located and that communication doesn't happen, or it breaks down.

The second thing, again, goes back to controlling those units that are under your command and communicating where they're at. And many times in training, the way I coach is I ask questions. Do you know where your RTF is? Are you getting information back on actual patient counts from your RTF? Well no. Well, get on the radio and ask them. They work for you.

Again, that trepidation, not ready to do it, not sure what to do, but not communicating, not keeping track of your resources and giving them direction.

Bill Godfrey:

Mark, what do you got?

Mark Rhame:

I see the same thing, but I'm going to put a little twist on this. We really, really push, and especially in large classes, that you get a scribe or an aid, you get someone to assist you. So many times, whether it's tactical, triage, or transport, when they get into that confusion state, maybe they're going to that brain fog environment, I think a lot of it is because they're trying to listen, communicate, and take notes. They're doing too much. And if they get someone else to take some of that responsibility off of them, and again, getting that scribe, that aid, taking all their notes, all they have to do is regurgitate what that aid or scribe already heard from those supervisors and they can give a cleaner direction, I think, in regard to what they're trying to accomplish and that goal.

Bill Godfrey:

Billy, how about you? On the tactical side, let me be specific, what are the common things that jump out in your mind for a patrol guy? So not a supervisor, but a patrol guy who the duty fell to him and he's having to step up to tactical. He or she having to step up the tactical. What's jumps out in you as the challenge for them on that day stuff?

Billy Perry:

Mission creep. You already have so much to do and not trying to do more than what you're supposed to do, and going over and above SIM plus I, and getting into the triage, getting into the transport, not staying in their own lane.

Bill Godfrey:

Reminding them, you got people for that.

Billy Perry:

Right. That's not your job. You got enough. You got a big job. You're busy. Don't do it. But again, that's the checklist. You're in your tactical T, you got security, you've got your immediate action, you got your medical, now your intelligence, if it's not in there, then stop.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely. All right, you guys have any others that stick out in your mind for tactical triage and transport?

Mark Rhame:

Well, what I don't see from, and I'll use transport as an example, is them preparing for what's going to happen next. Why wouldn't, if you're transport, call your ambulance one, of course, in our training environment it's a little easier, but you call them up and say, hey, you're my first ambulance up, when you arrive on the scene, we're already working it right now, you're going to load a red, a yellow, green. They're going to be brought to you at this location here. Be prepared. I'm going to move you up a little closer, and soon as I give you the green light, you're going to get in there and get those patients, get them off the scene.

But get that communication link working very, very quickly. You don't have to wait until you're ready to deploy them. Because again, there's still so much going on at that point in time. Do it ahead of time. Get on that clean radio channel, communicate with your people, get them prepared to go into that environment, but don't wait until they tell you, well, you need to send an ambulance up to that location.

Robert McMahan:

The mission creep, like Billy talked about, I see tactical often trying to run RTFs. They make a call for them early on, they're asking for them, but then they're trying to deploy them, and that they shouldn't be doing that. That belongs to triage. So mission creep.

Bill Godfrey:

I think that's common stuff. What's interesting is, I don't feel like I see the vapor lock quite as much at tactical triage and transport as I do at contacts and RTFs. And I don't really know why that is, but it feels like they begin to engage and then they just find their way through, but like you said, they end up trying to do too much.

Mark Rhame:

I do see that if you, and I don't mean to place this back on law enforcement, but if a tactical officer's sitting there getting so consumed about they have to clear that entire building, and now triage and transport are locked up. They're sitting there going, no I'm ready to send my RTFs in, we got a casualty collection point identified. There are patients there. We got ambulances ready to transport them off the scene. But tactical's got into this mindset, well, I got to start clearing the rest of the building. And everything gets held up. So sometimes someone needs to walk over there and kick them in the pants and go, come on, you got patients that are dying here. Let's move up.

Bill Godfrey:

ARC. I was just going to say, that goes back to Billy's active threat, rescue, clear. All right, so we talked about contacts, RTF, tactical, triage, and transport, so let's talk a little bit about staging. So Mark, I know you've coached staging a lot. Day one, common problems, misunderstandings, that you see in staging.

Mark Rhame:

I hate to sound like a broken record, but that is a job that will overwhelm you in training and in real-world very, very quickly if you don't get help. If you think as one individual, if you get 50 law enforcement officers all of a sudden pile up to you and start checking in, and you think you can do it by yourself, you're absolutely nuts. That is not going to happen. Same thing on the fire and EMS side.

You need to get someone to help you out and take your notes for you so you can be that director, that manager, that person running that site. And I see that too much that they're trying to do everything and they have people and tools that can make their life a lot easier. Again, we try to tell them lean forward, build out these teams quickly, but if you get an aide or scribe in there, you're going to be more successful every single time.

Bill Godfrey:

I think so too. I think the day one stuff I commonly see, of course, aside from the fact that most law enforcement agencies are not doing staging on a fairly regular basis. It's a little bit foreign to them. So it's pretty common, especially day one, to get that officer who's going to be the staging manager now with the fire department person, and they're a little bit lost. That's not uncharacteristic, and I would think it's perfectly normal and it's a great learning opportunity, and they pick up on it very quickly. But trying to understand those lines of communication and lines of responsibility.

One of the big things that I see, that's a light bulb moment for a lot of people, and interestingly, I see this on the fire side almost as often as I see it on the law enforcement side, is that I'm the one that organizes the team, so I take these raw resources that are checking in with me and I organize them into the team I need. It's a contact team. It's a rescue task force. It's a perimeter group. It's whatever. I'm organizing them, but I don't come up with the assignments. I don't just make a contact team and send them down range. That ain't my job. My job is to organize individual officers into a contact team, and then when tactical calls and says, I need a contact team, you guys, you're on deck, go, and give them the task. And the same thing with the RTFs.

That jumps out to me as one of those things that the first day, I don't think it's terribly clear to people, and then over the next day, that day two, they get that, okay, I understand what this job is about.

Robert McMahan:

Some of that is lean forward and building those teams out before they're asked for. Because if you're sitting there with 100 cops and 43 fire trucks, you should be building some teams before somebody asks for them. Because once they ask for them, that means they need them and they need them now. So don't wait for that ask, build them up first, make sure they're ready to go so that when they ask, they're ready to go.

Bill Godfrey:

Amen.

Mark Rhame:

And the other side of that is that, and I'll give you this example, a scenario we just ran where one of the staging managers said, there's just so much noise in this room. And I'm sitting there going, you're the staging manager. There's a way to control that. Tell everybody I the room to shut up. Tell everybody in the room to back up and get into areas where they're waiting for their assignment. And once they get their assignment, they can go to another location, that's where the teams are going to hold until you're ready to send them.

That applies to real-world too. If all of a sudden you have 50 law enforcement officers and 10 engine companies and five ambulances hovering around you at the staging...

Bill Godfrey:

Physically crowding up on your space.

Mark Rhame:

That's very problematic, and if you don't control that environment right up front, it's just going to grow on you and it's going to get worse. So you got to own that site as you would if you're the first RTF getting into a casualty collection point, own that site and manage those people. And if it's too loud, back them off and tell them to shut up.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely. All right, we ready to move on from staging? Let's talk about command. The command post. And I'll start, this one with this preface, I think the biggest misconception about active shooter incident management, I don't know if this would be the number one, but it's definitely in the top three, is the difference between what is the responsibility of tactical triage and transport and what is the responsibility of the command post. And I think that most people, when they think of active shooter incident management, what they're really thinking about is the jobs and duties of tactical, triage, and transport, and not the jobs and duties of the incident command post.

With that said, Mark, you've, I think, among the three of us, probably spent more time as the command coach, what are the big things that jump out at you day one, common issues?

Mark Rhame:

I think the biggest thing for me is the incident commander doesn't realize, and especially in this model using the checklist, they have people. They have people that do their job in the command post and other in positions, and how many times you see the incident commander, that person who's in charge of that scene, go, hold on a second, I got to step out and talk on the radio. No, you got a law enforcement branch stood up that is your communication link to that law enforcement side. You've got a medical branch who's going to do everything, all that communication, and give you all that information on the medical side. You should have a PIO that's developing your game plan in regard to getting the message out to the public, whether it's social media, or a real press briefing, or face-to-face.

You got an Intel person who should stand up with a team and is going to get all of that background information. What happened here? You got people to do this work, and how many times you see the incident commander sitting there going, well, hold on a second, I got to take a call, or I got to get on the radio, or I got to take care of... No. You got people, let them do it.

Bill Godfrey:

You don't even need a radio.

Mark Rhame:

In fact, in my eyes, that's the most successful incident commander, takes the radio off, turns it off, whatever they have to do, and let those other people do the work for them.

Bill Godfrey:

I would agree with you. I think that's one of those aha moments is the sense that, I thought incident command was supposed to be incredibly chaotic and overwhelming, and one of the things that we're trying to train people is, that's not really what you're shooting for. If that's what you've got, there's something not quite right. We need to fix that. Because it shouldn't be that chaotic and it shouldn't be that overwhelming, because you do have these people that have responsibilities laid out to work under that.

Robert, what jumps out at you in the command post in terms of common day one stuff?

Robert McMahan:

I would say it's the mission creep and getting too far down in the weeds. Again, not using the people that are supposed to be doing those things. But the other thing that I've experienced, and not so much in the training environment, because we force it here, but in real life, is not having fire and law enforcement together in that command post.

We force them to do it in the training environment, so it's not a big deal there, but in real life too many times I've seen law enforcement and fire at their own command posts, not communicating. And if they need something they'll call each other up, but you need that partner with you in the command post, whatever it is, fire, crimes, whatever it is, you got to have those two representatives working together.

Bill Godfrey:

That's a prescription for disaster when you got two different command posts, it's, like you said, too many times. So Billy, I got a question for you. How often do you see the incident commander getting tactical? They're getting into the tactical, they're getting into the weeds, they're getting into the business of the contact teams.

Billy Perry:

Every class.

Bill Godfrey:

What are the kinds of issues that that causes?

Billy Perry:

Every class. Well, I think it causes a lot of issues in real life and in training. It causes a lack of confidence in themselves and of tactical. Wait a minute, am I not doing my job? Is he supposed to be doing that? Am I supposed to be doing that? It causes second guessing. And it's destructive to the train up and down the line. But it does, it happens every class. It's mission creep. It's what we were just talking about. And not maintaining the 50,000 foot.

Robert McMahan:

By the way, it takes time to do that.

Billy Perry:

It does.

Robert McMahan:

We're fighting the clock on this, so it takes a lot of time for tactical or contact teams to have that interaction with the incident commander when they don't really need to.

Billy Perry:

If only there was a section on the checklist for that too.

Billy Perry and Bill Godfrey:

There is.

Bill Godfrey:

How about that? Well, I mean, in fairness, that was why we wanted to talk about this, is because these are things that we see, they're common, not only in training, but in the real life incidents. These are common issues that we see and you can substitute different classes, different subject areas related to active shooter, and you still see these patterns repeat. Mark, any others in the command post that jump out at you?

Mark Rhame:

Not only what we just talked about, getting out of your lane and getting into the weeds, but the incident commander in these classes don't realize they're going to be so busy dealing with people, or should be so dealing with people, that own that business or the school administrator or the mayor. Their boss is going to call them up and they're going to, what's going on? Give me a briefing. They're going to get overwhelmed with that very, very quickly. And frankly, if they're not getting a liaison stood up to engage with those school administrator or that mall owner or manager, or that airport authority, the FAA, whoever it happens to be, whatever scene you're on, they're missing the big picture because that's what they should be dealing with.

The other side of the thing is that we don't see them readily or quickly engaging their emergency manager. Emergency managers can be your godsend if you're the incident commander, they have all those contracts, those contacts, that's what their job is, to have all that stuff ready to go when this incident rolls out. Engage your emergency manager, they're going to help you out right off the bat and they're going to help you get really organized very quickly.

Bill Godfrey:

I think that is an excellent observation, and something that I think is a best practice is for emergency management at major incidents, they ought to be one of the responders that goes to the command post and is a liaison. I'm not suggesting, let me be clear, I am not suggesting that emergency management runs emergency management from the scene. I think that's a mistake and foolhardy, but to have a liaison at the scene who is a part of the emergency management team that can do that reach-back is pretty critical.

All right, any others about the command post before we talk about dispatch? Okay, so let's talk about this one for a second. And I'll say this as a lead off, I think the most common thing I see on day one with dispatchers or communicators is really on the law enforcement side, that many, not all, but many of the law enforcement dispatchers are used to having to be what I'm going to call that default command or that defacto command, whoever the first unit is that gets there starts barking stuff, and then somebody else starts barking stuff, and they're expecting dispatch to coordinate all of this stuff, and they end up smack in the middle of it.

Here in this process, we're trying to keep dispatch in that role that they're in, but get the responders to set up their own structure and command it from the scene. And so one of the things that I see and hear frequently from law enforcement dispatchers on day one is, I don't feel like I was talking enough. I don't feel like I was in the middle of it. They were telling me all of the things that I'm used to doing. I just felt a fish out of water. Robert, have you seen that?

Robert McMahan:

Especially on the law enforcement side, we get all these units running hot and they're dogpiling the scene and doing what cops do, and we forget to get that first line of supervision set up and actually take charge. And that's why when I was working, I told my dispatchers, here's the checklist. If you don't hear staging set, you don't hear someone taking charge, ask for that to happen. Find that supervisor that's in the middle of that say, are you going to be in charge? Are you the incident commander? Where do you want the staging? Get that off the dispatcher's responsibility to try and handle and get it in the hands of somebody that can actually manage it.

Mark Rhame:

I think part of the problem, Bill, is that we don't, collectively as public safety, engage our dispatchers in our training environment on a regular basis.

Billy Perry:

There it is. Absolutely. There it is.

Mark Rhame:

Because think about this for a second, you can go your entire career and never get one of these big events or maybe right toward the end of your career. Now think about dispatch though. They aren't training with us. They're not out there engaging it. And first time they hear it is probably when it actually happens and they're sitting there going, what are they doing? What's this about? We should be engaging our dispatchers in every training environment, at least making sure they understand what those benchmarks are.

Bill Godfrey:

I absolutely agree. It seems as obvious as the day is long, but I'd say it's the exception rather than the rule that we include dispatch. But then again, frankly, as we've commonly said, how often are we seeing law enforcement training that's not including Fire-EMS and Fire-EMS training that's not including law enforcement? I mean frankly, we've got room across the board to do that.

Billy, what's the common things that come into your mind for dispatch day one?

Billy Perry:

Frustration over accuracy of reports. They get frustrated. And to me, that's just alien. I said, you do realize that's every day. I mean, because, I mean, callers are not accurate. Complainants are not accurate. Initial reports are generally not accurate. I mean, it's a tense and certain rapidly developing situation that is fluid and growing and changing in nature, and nothing changes, whether it's training environment, whether it's the scenario, or whether it's in real life. Once they get their head wrapped around that, then they move on.

Again, like you said, the training. And even we ask in classes, have you had training in, just for example today, have you had training in hostage negotiation? They said, yes, we have. And then the question was asked, was it a local agency that gave it to you or the FBI? Crickets. I mean, who gave it to you?

I think we have to have training. I thin we have to give them training. Mark hit it on the head. And I think they need to remember that just because it comes over the radio, it's just like the internet. It doesn't mean it's true.

Bill Godfrey:

You know what else is inaccurate is the triage numbers for the first 20 minutes.

Billy Perry:

Correct.

Bill Godfrey:

The colors and the numbers are never accurate for the first... I think the other thing that jumps out at me on day one for dispatch, and I see this on really both sides, is trying to get acclimated to the terminology. There's not a lot of terminology that we introduce that's specific to active shooter or active shooter incident management, but there is some and if a dispatcher hasn't been part of a training before, or hasn't seen or heard one of these calls, it could easily be terminology they've never heard before. What does that mean? And where does that fit in? And how do I note that?

Billy Perry:

I think that was even worse when we used to have, instead of becoming contact one, we became command. Do you remember?

Bill Godfrey:

That was... Please..I'm going to need counseling after. Thank you for that. You just threw me into PTSD.

Billy Perry:

Remember? Because it did.

Bill Godfrey:

You're killing me.

Billy Perry:

It caused a lot of confusion.

Bill Godfrey:

You think? Yeah, it did. And for the end of the day, it wasn't for a very good reason, but we did overcome it in the end. We overcome it and got the change that we needed. Mark, Robert, anything else that jumps out at you for dispatch?

Mark Rhame:

I see, and maybe the light bulb comes on day two into the day, of the advantage of having a law enforcement officer, especially in that intel side, embedded in dispatch immediately. How many scenes and after-action reports have you read where 30 minutes later, they're still chasing their tail? They've already taken down the known assailant and then 30 minutes later, the same description gets put out because now all of a sudden someone dials 911 because they finally got that text message from their loved one that said, hey, I saw this guy running around with a gun.

Well, if someone was there to clean that mess up, to maybe say, that's probably that first person. That's not a second person. And the advantage of having that law enforcement officer in dispatch as quick as possible is going to work for everybody.

Bill Godfrey:

Sure. Our dear friend, Mike, had that one that had an international tinge to it. They were chasing their tails for four or five hours. They were chasing ghost reports or echo calls. And he said very clearly in the aftermath, there was plenty of information for us to realize that those were ghost, those were echo, calls. We'd already checked that stuff out, and then we were chasing our tails. But we didn't see it at the time. We didn't have it put together. We didn't have it organized where somebody was riding herd over that. So yeah, absolutely.

All right, we are up on our time. Any final comments or final thoughts, day one things that are common issues you see pop up that we haven't mentioned?

Robert McMahan:

Not on day one, but I will say when you debrief this thing, get everybody in the room. Include dispatch, include your EDM, include everybody, to talk about the issues and problems they had. Because if you don't, you're not going to hear from them. You're not going to learn from your mistakes. So debriefing with everybody is pretty important.

Bill Godfrey:

And let's be honest about the mistakes. There can be some consequences for being honest about it, but that's part of our job. Mistakes occur, especially in training. And that's a place that's a good place for the mistakes to occur so we can own them and talk about them and then hopefully do a repetition.

Robert McMahan:

That's why we do the debriefs in our training. After every scenario we do those debriefs, talk about what went wrong, what went right.

Mark Rhame:

I would say that one of the things that surprises me, even to this day and age, is when we ask questions at day one in regard to... I'll give you an example here. When we ask, do y'all have an MCI plan? And you have people in the room, well, I don't know. Well, didn't you do any research, didn't you do any prep work, before you came to this environment? You know we're going to talk about a mass casualty event, we're going to have a shooter with multiple injuries, and yet it almost sounds like you're not totally sure about your own policies. The conflict in the room mesmerizes me sometimes.

I get it that that brand new law enforcement officer, that brand new firefighter, EMS person, whoever it happens to be, they probably don't know all their policies and practices. They're still trying to get that, where do I show up to work this day and what uniform am I wearing? But outside of that, you would think they'd do a little bit of prep work and be prepared for this environment before they walk in there. So I think that that goes a long way, if you just sit there and open your policies and review those before you walk into this training environment.

Bill Godfrey:

Mark, it's interesting you say that because I think the flip side of that is just as interesting, when we're working with a group and they say, well, that's not the way we do it around here, and yet there's somebody else in the room that is one of their mutual aid responders who doesn't do it the way they do it. And it's like, wait a minute, you're pushing back, saying that's not the way we do it, except the guy standing next to you, who's going to be on your scene, it's not the way he does it.

I think that both sides of that are pretty fascinating. Billy, how about you? What do you want to leave us with about the importance of the things that we learn from day one?

Billy Perry:

Repetition. Not just running reps, because, again, practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Being diligent. Being correct. You can't do it wrong enough fast enough to make it right enough. So do it right. Do it correctly. Do it professionally. Do it calmly. And repeat.

Robert McMahan:

To add to that, I'd say, if you go to one active shooter incident management class and you call it good, you're not going to do it well when the day comes. You need to keep practicing this. You need to keep training on this over and over, just like we do with firearms and putting out fires and driving and all that stuff. You got to keep up with this and keep training, or it gets perishable.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely. Billy said that earlier, it's a perishable skill. I completely agree. The good news is though, is once you get the basics down with enough repetitions, with some insightful coaching, and you start to get it, what it takes as an effort to maintain it is not nearly as hard as what it took you to acquire it.

Billy Perry:

Yes. However, just like with firearms, it changes.

Bill Godfrey:

Yes, it does.

Billy Perry:

Tactics change. And if you're not current, you're not. And I mean, we held pistols differently, we reload pistols. We have different platforms and tactics are completely different. The way we enter rooms, the way we take rooms, the checklists.

Bill Godfrey:

Every once in a while we change medical procedures too.

Billy Perry:

Exactly. And checklists and verbiage. And that's not bad.

Bill Godfrey:

It's progress.

Billy Perry:

That's progress. But I think that's the case. So you've got to stay current. You have to stay current. And if you're not you're not treating it as a professional. You're not taking your craft seriously.

Bill Godfrey:

All right, well, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you have enjoyed this podcast. Gentlemen, thank you for the time. If you have some suggestions for future podcasts or things that you'd like to hear us talk about or address, please send them into us at info@c3pathways.com. Thanks to Karla Torres, our producer, for putting this together. And until the next time, stay safe.

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