The Rescue Task Force Concept:


Training, Equipment and Deployment

CarolinaFireJournal - Tracy Caulder
Tracy Caulder
01/31/2017 -

As active killer incidents become more and more prevalent, professional responders must continue to adapt and improve how they react to these situations. Many departments employ specialized tactical medics for deployment in high-risk environments; the issue with these assets is that they are often dedicated to specialized law enforcement teams and take a substantial amount of time to activate and deploy. In order to combat this issue, departments around the U.S. are beginning to implement the Rescue Task Force Concept. This concept consists of conventional assets which have received specialized training in order to operate within the “warm zones” of active killer incidents. In order to provide context: a “hot zone” is defined as the area within these environments in which an active threat is still present, a “warm zone” being an area where a threat is no longer present but active near by or is being effectively suppressed, and a “cold zone” as an area where the threat has been eliminated.

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In an ideal Rescue Task Force (RFT) configuration, first responding law enforcement officers will immediately enter the scene to begin securing it by locating, isolating and eliminating the threat. As these initial officers move to secure the scene, they should be able to begin communicating the location of casualties to the second wave of responders while continuing to clear.

In an ideal Rescue Task Force (RFT) configuration, first responding law enforcement officers will immediately enter the scene to begin securing it by locating, isolating and eliminating the threat. As these initial officers move to secure the scene, they should be able to begin communicating the location of casualties to the second wave of responders while continuing to clear.

Upon arriving on scene, the second wave of responders will begin to from the Rescue Task Force. Like other deployment models, the RTF concept is flexible and may be expanded to multiple teams based on the scale of the incident. When forming the RTF, it should employ two medical providers —consisting of at least one ALS provider — and four law enforcement officers. With this configuration, the RTF should be formed in to a modified wedge, also known as a diamond formation, with law enforcement providing 360 degree security and the medical providers placed in the middle of the formation.

The RTF concept is not something that can be hastily thrown together as many organizations seem to believe, this concept must be drilled on in depth and regularly through realistic, interagency training.

As we as responders progress forward, our preparedness to respond to active killer incidents must also progress. The Tactical Emergency Casualty Care guidelines provide a foundation of medical knowledge and the Rescue Task Force concept provides a deployment model necessary to implement in order to save lives during these catastrophic events.

As with the implementation of any new concept, the question is often raised on how to properly equip RTF members. According to a November 2015 bulletin released by the Committee on Tactical Emergency Casualty Care, the average number of individuals injured in an active killer event are between 0-5; therefore, RTFs should be deployed with adequate equipment to treat the average number of casualties involved in active killer incidents. RTF member’s should be equipped to address the major causes of preventable death in tactical environments: hemorrhage from an extremity, airway compromise and tension pneumothorax. Despite being the leading causes of preventable death, these issues are easily addressed through rapid identification and aggressive management.

Tracy Caulder is a U.S. Army combat veteran and Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician. Caulder deployed to Afghanistan from June 2013 to February 2014 and served as a squad leader and ground medical evacuation team leader providing care for combat wounded in austere and clinical settings. In 2015 he was called to state active duty by the Army National Guard to provide medical support and humanitarian relief to the victims of severe flooding across South Carolina. Caulder continues to serve in the Army National Guard and works for Berkeley County EMS; he also serves as a Founding Member and Chief Training Officer for Rapha Group, LLC. He possesses an Associate of Applied Sciences in Health Sciences and an Undergraduate Certificate in Military Leadership Studies from American Military University. He is also an ASHI, AHA, AAP, and NAEMT Instructor.
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Issue 32.2 | Fall 2017

Keeping First Responders Safe
Ideas to improve safety on the job, leadership, serving our community and keeping the desire to serve others...