Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- A mass casualty situation is something no one can ever be fully prepared for. After listening to 911 calls from the mass shooting in Colorado last week, experts say first responders in Aurora answered with a level of professionalism that may have saved many lives.
Phone lines were quiet before the first call came in at 12:39 a.m. last Friday. Then, the calls came pouring in. Emergency dispatchers fielded requests for gas masks for officers entering the theater to calls for ambulances.
Sound from 911 Dispatch: “We need rescue inside the auditorium. We have multiple victims. We have seven down in the theater, seven down. I’ve got a child victim. I need rescue at the back door of theater nine, now!”
From a dispatcher’s standpoint, it’s a puzzle, matching people in need with resources available.
Longtime dispatcher Edward Moser, Jr., said, “As soon as all the phones are going off, what you have to determine is, one: Are they all one call? Two: Is the scene safe? Three: What’s going on at the scene? Are police there to help us?”
In Aurora, police were there, securing the scene, looking for the suspect, and even transporting victims to hospitals in patrol cars when ambulances weren't available.
Dispatch Sound: “Do I have permission to start taking some of these victims via car? I got a whole bunch of people shot here and no rescue."
The reply: "Yes, load them up, get them in cars and get out of here.”
Syracuse Police Sgt. Tom Connellan says the 911 conversations show first responders saved lives with their quick decisions.
“Everyone stayed professional, calm, cool and collected, which is important because if you get on that radio and you kind of lose it, people aren't going to understand what you're saying,” Connellan said. “It's a worst case scenario. It's something we hope we never have to deal with here but we think we're ready for something like this. But you never really know until you're put to the test, and Aurora, Colo. really did a great job.”
To hear more from Sgt. Tom Connellan on the quick actions of first responders, CLICK HERE