An Encinitas, California, firefighter who survived one of the deadliest mass shootings in history is now helping local first responders prepare for future active shooter emergencies.
Encinitas Deputy Fire Chief Jon Blumeyer was among the group of police and firefighters who took part in an active shooter simulation in Bonsall on Saturday.
Blumeyer was attending the Route 91 Harvest Music festival last October when a shooter started firing at the crowd.
“Once I felt that my wife was out, and our friends had gotten out, I knew people were hurt, so I had to turn around and help people,” said Blumeyer.
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Blumeyer was shot in the leg twice and continued to help the wounded.
Events like the Las Vegas shooting have changed the way police and firefighters train.
“It’s changing the mindset, from stand back and wait until everything is safe, to actually go in and get people quicker because it’s proven that time is of the essence,” said Blumeyer.
At the training exercise in Bonsall, firefighters treated mock patients for injuries that could happen in a shooting or a bombing. Some firefighters were also wearing ballistic gear, similar to what police swat teams wear. More fire departments are investing in that type of equipment as the number of active shooting incidents increase.
“I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, and the mindset has changed. The world has changed, so we have to adapt to it,” said Blumeyer.
Blumeyer says it is important for police and fire departments to work as a team, but he says that it is also crucial for the public to understand what to expect during shootings.
“Everybody becomes a first responder in something like this. Everyone has the ability to save a life,” said Bluemeyer.
He recommends that people take CPR and basic first-aid courses.
The active shooter training exercise included the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, North County Fire Protection District, Oceanside Fire Department, Pala Fire Department, Pendleton Fire Department, Carlsbad Fire Department, Vista Fire Department and Cal Fire.