Savannah prepared if tragedy strikes - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah prepared if tragedy strikes

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

In Savannah, where nightlife is so popular, the question of preparedness comes up as we watched the horror unfold in Orlando. It is question that our leaders have to answer when something like this happens.

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Jack Lumpkin says everything is in place, everything has been practiced and improvements are constantly being made.  

The reports out of Orlando say that the SWAT team played a vital role in bringing the shooter down, breaking into the night club and securing the area. As a police department, SCMPD always evaluates tragedies like this, and they meet and simulate how they would have reacted.

The chief says they have an active shooter plan in place, they have an excellent SWAT team, but not only that they have a number of officers with patrol rifles in their cars. That way, they are able to respond much quicker. The chief says that one of the biggest things during an active shooter situation is that those possibly injured may bleed out and must get the attention as soon as possible.

[MOBILE USERS: WATCH Chief Jack Lumpkin address media in aftermath of Orlando shooting]

"We are working on implementing a system where the fire services and the EMS would actually feel comfortable entering with our rifles," said Chief Lumpkin.

That way, EMS and fire would not have to wait for police to clear a scene before helping those in the most need.

Savannah is unique in that it has one of five level 1 trauma centers in the entire state. That means if anything happened around here like what happened in Orlando, Memorial University would be the place everyone would go.

Memorial University’s Trauma Center is required by the state to be prepared for a mass trauma situation. It is something the often practice.

Chief of Trauma and Surgery, Dr. James Dunne says they have had practice in the past with a large number of victims at a time, citing the sugar refinery explosion when they received more than 35 victims.

In the case of mass shooting, or something similar, they would suspect operations, clear out the emergency room, send out a page to all surgeons and they would be ready to
go. A triage is set up to evaluate patients before they ever get into the E.R. to make sure those that need the most help get seen first.

“We will determine if you are actually injured, if your treatment can wait an hour, or if you are what we call a ‘walking wounded.’ In the worst case, if the number of patients have outstripped our resources, then we have to start making the difficult decision if patients are expectant because we would end up using too many resources, where we could save five lives instead of losing one, and those types of things," said Dr. Dunne.

The trauma center handles about 100,000 cases per year, and they serve 28 counties in Georgia and South Carolina.

WTOC have also asked the question of what you should do in that situation. Many witnesses say they played dead. Is that the best way to handle something like this? 

You usually have 3 options: run, hide or fight.  In this case, running and fighting were really out of the question.

We asked our safety expert.

"You are still limited in to where you can go. I know it sounds distasteful to use dead bodies as a shield or camouflage to hide the fact that you are there. It may not be the worst idea,” said Gary Glemboski, SWAT for 25 years. 

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