ATF agents undergo training to save lives - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

ATF agents undergo training to save lives

Tuesday, several Gulfport and New Orleans ATF agents were in Slidell brushing up on their medical skills. (Photo source: WLOX) Tuesday, several Gulfport and New Orleans ATF agents were in Slidell brushing up on their medical skills. (Photo source: WLOX)
In this scenario, a suspect began firing at agents and in a matter of seconds an agent was shot. (Photo source: WLOX) In this scenario, a suspect began firing at agents and in a matter of seconds an agent was shot. (Photo source: WLOX)
SLIDELL, LA (WLOX) -

Every day those in law enforcement are thrust into dangerous situations where officers' lives, or the lives of others, are on the line. Monday night in Oklahoma, two officers were shot in a standoff. Unfortunately, it's a story that has been in the news a lot lately.

To increase the chances of survival, all agents with The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) receive medical training. Tuesday, several Gulfport and New Orleans agents were in Slidell brushing up on their medical skills. Agents were forced into a real world scenario to make sure they are prepared.

"Police, police," agents screamed as they rushed into a warehouse with their guns drawn.

In this scenario, a suspect began firing at agents and in a matter of seconds an agent was shot. Some of the agents shielded the downed officer, and screamed for the suspect to put the gun down. Others began medical treatment. In a situation like this, seconds could be the difference between life and death.

"Something like this could happen almost every day," ATF Special Agent in Charge Phillip Durham said. "We are constantly doing operations in the field where surveillance, arrest warrants, search warrants, different type of raids or scenarios of this type."

Agents pulled the injured agent outside to continue treating him. ATF Tactical Medic Hank Meyer yelled, "He can't breathe, you have to breathe for him," and agents put a tube in his nose.

"These skills and these medical interventions we are teaching are designed to save the lives of our agents, our fellow police officers, as well as the violators and the victims," Meyer said.

The medical training agents receive has been proven to work for military members in combat and law enforcement officers. Meyer trained with the Boston Police Department after the marathon bombing incident and talked with an officer who nearly lost his life.

"That officer bled out in 13 seconds," Meyer said. "We were able to learn what worked, what didn't work, what skills were needed, and how and why that officer is alive today. And specifically these skills we are teaching the agents is why he is alive today."

In situations where a suspect is armed, emergency medical services cannot get close enough to give immediate assistance. That's why it's vital law enforcement officers have medical training so the person injured has the best chance of survival.

"We want to keep the public safe. That's our mission. That's our goal," Durham said.

All ATF agents receive medical training, but there are also agents who are certified EMTs. The Gulfport ATF office has a trained EMT and the goal is for every ATF office to have at least one.

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