On the night of Sunday, October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire onto a crowd of thousands from his 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. As chaos commenced and terrified concertgoers fled the scene, first responders ran in the opposite direction, into the heart of the danger.
In instances of disaster, whether natural or man-made, there is one group of people on which we can always rely. During fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and now active shootings, our community can rest assured that help is on the way.
In the City of Los Angeles, our comfort lies in the certainty that the Los Angeles Fire Department is preparing for every catastrophe. In recent weeks, we’ve witnessed the LAFD skillfully manage historic fires at home and record-breaking hurricanes abroad. What many may not know is that the LAFD is also training for active shooter incidents, through the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) unit.
Developed in 2013 as a response to the Los Angeles International Airport shooting, TEMS works with LAPD and FBI to provide “unified response to violent incident” training, entering “hot zones” to treat police officers and victims. Firefighter/ Paramedic David Danielson – a 15-year veteran of the LAFD – has been a member of TEMS since its inception. In addition to his medical knowledge and firefighting skills, Danielson brings a 26-year naval career to the TEMS unit. He has an impressive breadth of knowledge and experience that serves the TEMS unit, and our community at large.
Of all the LAFD teams with which he’s been involved – and the list is lengthy, including Swift Water Rescue and Fast Response Unit – Danielson says TEMS is “one of the greatest rewards because we’ve actually been able to deliver firefighter safety.” TEMS rolls out on every LAPD SWAT call.
In addition to working with police, TEMS offers civilian training such as
“Stop the Bleed” and “Run, Hide, Fight.” Their goal is to increase community resiliency, with more than six training opportunities during the month of October alone. Even more shocking, the TEMS unit only has 12 members total, and only six full-time, special-duty members. The remaining six are platoon-duty members, meaning they are assigned to various fire stations and on-call for TEMS.
Given recent events throughout the United States, the necessity for TEMS is increasingly evident. However, their needs surpass what the LAFD budget can provide.
FF/PM Danielson exemplifies the highly trained, skilled members of your LAFD. Always training, always preparing, always at your service.