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Las Vegas firefighters share experience from mass shooting with Tri-State first responders

Vegas firefighters share lessons from shooting
Posted at 7:07 PM, Mar 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-16 22:26:02-04

CINCINNATI -- Las Vegas firefighters spoke with local first responders at Christ Hospital Friday to share their experiences from the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year and what they learned from it.

Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassle said he has used the word "surreal" more in the last five months than he expects he otherwise would have in his whole life, since he and his department responded to the mass shooting at the Route 61 Music Festival on Oct. 1, 2017. 

"Getting the right people in the right spot to do jobs and have the relationships, not only with the police -- with the hospitals, with us, the resort community, the hotels, the casinos -- all of those people, we have to have those relationships," Cassle said. 

Cassle was one of several speakers at the Finding Excellence at The Christ Hospital (FETCH) conference Friday. Sunrise Hospital Medical Director Dr. Scott Scherr said first responders need to expect more incidents like that mass shooting.

"Unfortunately, this is not going to be the last one that's going to happen," he said. "This is the new reality, and we just need to make sure we're prepared for it."

Las Vegas Sunrise Hospital saw 215 patients in the first hour after the shooting. 

Local fire officials said the Las Vegas first responders' experiences provide useful lessons. 

"I think every first responder knows it could happen anywhere, at anytime, no matter where you work or live," Newport firefighter Drew Verkamp said. 

They're preparing for the worst, and learning from those who know best.

"You take what went well, you document it, you memorialize it and you move forward," Casle said. "And then you look at your opportunities for improvement."