EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso area law enforcement agencies along with the El Paso Fire Department, participated in an active shooter training at a local elementary school Tuesday afternoon.

Participating agencies include El Paso Police, El Paso Fire, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security, and other local police departments in the area.

EPPD said in April, the department developed the active shooter integrated response course/scenario-based training for police and fire personnel covering active shooter response. The training also includes life-saving intervention and evaluation for the wounded after an active shooter is neutralized.

“We have to realize at the end of the day it’s a community response,” said Roberto Azar, an EPPD officer.

EPPD said while it’s had active shooter trainings before and requires officers to go through them, this is a first-of-its-kind training as it is integrated with other agencies.

“We are working on stakeholders making sure that we are training officers to the best of their capabilities to be ready,” Azar said.

For El Paso Fire, EPPD said they’ve always been part of past active shooter trainings but this time the department wants to assess how they can be more involved in the life-saving efforts at an active scene, from a safe distance.

“We want to bring them closer to a ‘warm zone’, they are in a cold zone which is a bit outside of where an incident takes place,” Azar said.

KTSM was not allowed to record video of the training inside the school, but crews were allowed to capture audio from the indoor training and record the events happening outside of the school. That’s where EPFD was participating in triage and EMS training and law enforcement officers were seen running into the school wearing tactical gear.

KTSM crews also observed simulated gunshot sounds, a recording of people screaming playing from inside the school and emergency alarms ringing inside as well.

EPPD said it wanted the training to feel as real as possible.

Also participating in the training, emergency physicians with Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso.

Robert Root, an emergency medicine physician, said response time is key to saving lives.

“For us to receive patients in time to provide life-saving interventions, police and fire responding as quickly as possible is most often the difference between life and death,” Root said.

Root said observing the active shooter training would help better prepare physicians for patients who arrive at the hospital, but also helps them train officers in assessing those injured on the scene.

“In particular, we’re watching how officers conduct triage and apply emergency medicine, we can help with how the police learn how to apply those interventions in the best way possible,” Root said.

KTSM asked Root if TTUHSC EP anticipated physicians would be at an active scene in the event of a future active shooter situation. Root said they were looking at establishing a tactical medical team and training with police and SWAT.

“We look forward to the upcoming weeks to months to establish that team to where we would have physicians live at the scene,” Root said.

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