CINCINNATI -- Training is key to helping firefighters effectively respond to crises such as Sunday's Cameo nightclub shooting, Cincinnati Firefighter Union president Matt Alter said Monday, but there's still no one-to-one preparation for the real thing.
"Training is very impersonal, and you're dealing with maybe mannequins or fake lives, and you always know at the end of the day there's a safety net," he said.
That wasn't so early Sunday morning, when the fire crew from Station 18 arrived on the scene of an incident that injured 16 people and took the life of 27-year-old O'Bryan Spikes. The people fleeing the club were injured and scared, Alter said -- the firefighters, 35 percent of whom are EMTs, worked to treat them and assess the situation as soon as they arrived.
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"They arrived on scene and immediately went into triage mode, which is a very, very difficult situation," he said. "It's a very unique situation. It's very mentally taxing, but they did a great job."
Cincinnati Fire Chief Richard Braun called the incident a "tremendous tragedy" when he addressed City Council on Monday, but praised the first responders who arrived for taking quick, decisive action in the face of chaos.
"They had to make quick decisions on, 'We need to get in and we need to start triaging.' and they did just that," Braun said.
Chief Braun added that the Cincinnati Fire Department will review its response to the incident to identify areas that could be improved in future crisis situations.