Santa Cruz Responders Can Take Heat

‘A medical team with an armed escort’

Firefighter-paramedics in Santa Cruz recently received training in law enforcement tactics that will allow them to enter “warm zones” where a threat remains but the situation is considered safe enough to render aid.

According to the story, which first appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, leading emergency responders believe that having fire officials with medical training working together with police will result in less loss of life among first responders and crime victims.

santa cruz responders can take heat

“We will be closer to our police officers and providing emergency care where we haven’t in the past,” said Fire Battalion Chief Mike DiTano.

The story notes how the 2013 shooting deaths of Santa Cruz detective Sgt.Butch Baker and detective Elizabeth Butler galvanized efforts to provide tactical training to firefighter-paramedics.

“You can certainly see the need for [tactical training] following the loss of Baker and Butler, especially when you have an armed suspect who circles back to ambush the emergency responders,” Deputy Police Chief Rick Martinez said. “Having a team protected and capable of responding will hopefully increase response times.”

Federal funding covered the cost of 80 hours of tactical training for four firefighter-paramedics, who receive no extra pay for the voluntary assignment. The EMT training, Martinez said, “includes a lot of movement and repetition and practicing those movements with an armed team. Those are things those responders need — security and positioning.”