Valley health, law enforcement officials urge emergency preparedness in wake of Uvalde

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EDINBURGH — “We wish we didn’t have to give a presentation like this. »

Noel Oliveira’s words echoed through the room full of first responders, educators and parents who sat here at the Edinburgh Conference Center at Renaissance for a presentation on Wednesday designed to save lives, a presentation that is becoming increasingly necessary after the Uvalde massacre in May which claimed the lives of 21 people at a local school.

DHR Health partnered with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office to host active shooter and critical incident training at the conference center on Wednesday evening, where DHR Wound Care Center Director Oliveira presented the first speaker of the evening, Senior Deputy Ricardo “Rick” García.

Garcia served as the lead instructor and spoke to community members about active shooter statistics and the best responses in such a situation.

According to Hidalgo County Sheriff JE “Eddie” Guerra, Garcia’s presentation is based on the agency’s active shooter outreach program, which has shown an increase in attendees since its inception five years ago. year.

“We have trained over 45,000 civilian members of our community so far since we started this program,” Guerra said.

Garcia started the presentation by explaining that every shooter has one characteristic in common: Predators evolve and learn from past shooters.

It is for this reason that he and the sheriff’s office believe that educating the public on how to respond to these situations is one of many ways to prevent mass casualties.

“For years, all we’ve done is train law enforcement – get there faster, give them better equipment, give them better training,” Garcia said, adding that law enforcement the order are well trained for emergency situations.

Garcia added that although authorities have their own set of training protocols, the Uvalde shooting created a sense of urgency to provide the public with important information on how to respond in a critical emergency.

“You’re there when it happens and you have to do something for the four, five, six minutes it takes law enforcement to get there,” Garcia said.

With this type of training, Garcia hopes to educate community members on the basic tools and knowledge available to them that rely more on “primitive” survival instincts. For example, Garcia repeated the phrase “Run. To hide. Struggle.”

The idea is that people in an emergency should first run from danger and hide from the attacker, and the last resort being to fight for their life if they have no choice.

“We want to help people understand that this is something they can do. They don’t have to be victims,” Garcia said.

For Richard Sanchez, 67, a registered nurse and retired educator, the training serves as the basis for a “relay team” where civilians and police work together to stop active shooters more effectively.

“Our children are our future,” Sanchez said. “We have to protect them, not just educate them, but protect them to make sure they succeed and no one comes in and hurts or kills our children.”

Sharyland Water Supply Corporation safety coordinator Jorge Silva, 37, was among the participants in Wednesday’s training and said he felt compelled to be there to share his knowledge with his colleagues.

“Exposure and knowledge,” Silva said when asked what brought him to training on Wednesday.

He hoped to share what he learned from the training with his colleagues.

“Honestly, I think the biggest takeaway is that when people realize two things, they realize a lot of what we’re talking about is really common sense and things they really haven’t thought of – primitive instincts,” Garcia said. “The second biggest takeaway is the medical part where we talk about trauma medicine and gunshot wounds…they realize that it’s actually very simple to help people who have these horrible injuries.”

Attendees received information on techniques for controlling bleeding with the use of tourniquets and other basic wound care materials. By providing emergency care information, it helps prepare residents to know some basics on how to care for wounds until first responders arrive.

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