A Deadly Danger for Law Enforcement and First Responders in the War on Opioid Epidemic

first responder dangers, law enforcement protection, The opioid epidemic rages on across the nation, with law enforcement and other emergency responders on the front lines, battling to save the lives of the countless number of overdose victims. Naloxone has become standard law enforcement gear in many communities, as police are called on or find high numbers of overdose victims on a daily basis. As officials fight to stop the epidemic, drug traffickers and dealers are one step ahead, coming up with newer, more powerful drugs to flood the streets with. But the newest opioid they are spreading is deadly not only to the addicts who take it but also to emergency responders trying to save their lives.

Carfentanil, a powerful animal tranquilizer, has begun showing up in cities across the country. The drug is the most potent commercial opioid in the world and is said to be 10,000 times stronger than morphine. A 10-milligram dose of the drug can kill a 15,000-pound elephant. That same dosage – diluted and cut up – could kill 500 people. Drug traffickers are mixing the drug with heroin. In some cases, they even disguise it as heroin.

One kilogram of the drug will provide 50 million doses to drug addicts. That was the amount in a package that Canadian Border Services Agency recently intercepted. The drugs, shipped from China, had been destined for Calgary. In this country, Ohio appears to be “port-of-call” for the drug’s entry. The drug has also shown up in Florida and Kentucky.

But not only is the drug deadly to those who inject it, it can also be deadly to anyone who comes in contact with the drug physically since it can be absorbed into the skin. Veterinarians who work with carfentanil use protective masks, gloves, and aprons. A dose as small as the size of a grain of salt is enough to kill a person.

This puts first responders and law enforcement who arrive at the scene of an overdose in serious – if not deadly – danger. Officials have begun calling on law enforcement to no longer perform field testing on drugs they find at the scene because of the potentially fatal risks.

It is critical that all emergency responders are provided with the proper training and equipment to protect themselves from all the potential hazards they face in the field. Emergency Film Group offers several programs which can assist in that training. Check out our extensive training library here. . .



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A Summer of Mass Shootings

There were several mass shootings this summer which resulted in multiple deaths throughout the country. In June, nine people were killed when an assailant opened fire in a Charleston, S.C. church. In July, five members of the military were killed when a shooter opened fire on a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tenn. A second mass shooting in July occurred inside a movie theater in Lafayette, La., where two women were fatally wounded and nine other people injured. And in August, a Virginia television news reporter and her cameraman were shot and killed when a shooter opened fire on them during a live broadcast.


According to a report released last year by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, there were 160 active shooter incidents in this country between 2000 and 2013. Forty-four of those attacks occurred in business settings and resulted in the deaths of 124 victims. Fifteen of the active shooting attacks took place in open space areas, with 45 victims killed. Houses of worship were targets in six of those attacks, and took the lives of 21 victims.

During an active shooter or mass shooting attack, a combined law enforcement, fire, and EMS response is critical. All of these active shooter incidents have led to a change in law enforcement response tactics; however, fire and EMS also need to understand the dangers that lurk at these incidents and how to protect themselves from a shooter determined on taking as many lives possible.


Emergency Film Group’s Active Shooter: Rapid Response DVD is a safety training program for school administration, law enforcement, emergency management and others who may be involved in the response to a mass shooting. This compelling program shows how preparedness for and response to these fast-breaking and dangerous events is a joint effort between police, fire, EMS, community and facility emergency management. The role of trained and equipped tactical medics is depicted as well as the more traditional activities of EMS during mass casualty incidents: scoop and run rescue, triage, treatment, and transport. In addition to providing emergency medical service, firefighters are also depicted assisting law enforcement in forcible entry, firefighting, and managing building sprinkler systems.


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Terrorists’ Use of WMD Still a Real Threat

Jihadist attacks against a Paris magazine office, a kosher market in that city, and the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa seem to signal a new reliance by terrorists on conventional weapons. But you would have to have a short memory not to remember the Mumbai Massacre and the Fort Hood Shootings.

Maybe it is because in France, Canada, and the U.S. assault weapons are easier to come by than the explosives that are the deadly force in countless IED attacks in the Middle East. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement, the military, the intelligence community, and others designated with the task of protecting us from terrorist attacks, the likelihood is that the attacks will continue.

This is not lost on Americans. A recently released poll by the Pew Research Center, shows the public puts fighting terrorism above all other policy concerns for the first time in five years, edging out improving the nation’s economy which finished second in the poll.

In 1998, Osama bin Laden said that the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was a “religious duty.” In 2003, a fatwa by a radical cleric said it was legitimate to use such weapons to kill millions. There have been more than 50 reported attempts to acquire, create, or deploy WMD. Clearly, the possession of such weapons would give jihadists power on the world stage and lead to further recruitment of fighters.

This idea is still very much alive. A German journalist who imbedded with ISIL in Mosul for ten days, recently returned to report that Islamic State fighters are committed to killing millions who do not share the radical Islamists’ religious beliefs.

A major concern is the instability of certain nations that possess WMD as part of their military arsenal. Despite efforts to remove WMD from Syria, U.S. government sources have expressed fears that President Assad may have held back a small stash of chemical weapons.

In Iraq, it has been reported that ISIL fighters removed forty kilos of uranium from the University of Mosul. While the uranium was not enriched sufficiently to be a nuclear threat, it could well be used as in a radiological dispersion device. In the ISIL stronghold of Fallujah, a water treatment plant uses chlorine to treat sewage. Al Qaeda used chlorine cylinders in IEDs against coalition troops, but without much success. The laptop of an ISIL fighter, who had formerly been a university chemistry student, had plans for weaponizing bubonic plague and making ricin from castor beans. His whereabouts are unknown. Nor do we know if other chemists and scientists have joined ISIL’s cohort.

As hundreds of foreign fighters join ISIL every day there number now exceeds 15,000 including, it is estimated, some 2000 westerners. A top security concern is the potential return of these westerners to their native countries after having been groomed to carry out attacks in their homeland. The Charlie Hebdo attackers are a case in point.

As ISIL controls large swathes of land, the probability grows that people with the appropriate set of skills will find the right raw materials to fashion a WMD. It is an escalating threat which makes, “not if, but when” a prescient prediction. What we can do is train and prepare.

Emergency Film Group WMD Response Package II provides training and response guidelines to emergency personnel who would be called upon to respond to a WMD incident. This package contains four DVDs, two Resource CD-ROMs, and two Leader Guides.


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Buying a Home that Used to be a Meth Lab is Like Living in a Toxic Waste Dump

Illegal production of methamphetamine in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. The Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates the economic cost to society of meth use in this country between $16.2 billion and $48.3 billion annually.

What happens to the homes that were used to create math once law enforcements shuts down the operation? Lethal chemicals seep into the walls of these homes, leaching out over time, exposing new residents to all the toxins. Meth Lab Cleanup, a national training and abatement company, estimates there are currently 2.5 million meth-contaminated homes in the United States. For every 10 homes used for meth production, experts say, authorities uncover just one.

Many of these homes are sold at deep discounts. And in many states, realtors aren’t required to disclose to potential buyers that the home they are about to purchase once housed an illegal meth lab and is loaded with toxins. Chemical residue from production of the drug seeps into the walls and insulation. That great “fixer-upper” just may be hiding all kinds of deadly chemicals that could make you and your family extremely sick.


So how do you find out if the house you want to call home was once the location of meth lab?

  • Visit the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Clandestine Laboratory Register. This list contains the addresses for all homes discovered by law enforcement that contained meth labs. The searchable database has addresses arranged by state and city.
  • Talk to the neighbors in the area and find out what kind of history the property has.
  • Visit the local police department and inquire about any arrests or issues involving the property.
  • Buy a test kit for the property. The cost to clean a former meth house runs anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000. The test kit to determine if there are dangerous chemicals from its production costs about $50.

Emergency Film Group’s Response to Illicit Drug Labs DVD provides training for emergency personnel who may encounter a clandestine drug lab during routine calls or who may be involved in taking down a lab. An ideal resource for law enforcement, hazmat teams, EMS and other emergency personnel.

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Two Killed in Middle School Active Shooter Incident

A teacher was killed and two students injured in another tragic school shooting today. The incident occurred at the middle school in Sparks, Nevada, which is located east of Reno.

According to police reports, at approximately 7:15 this morning, a student pulled a gun on a teacher and shot him. Two other students were also shot and are currently listed in critical condition. According to Sparks City Manager Shaun Carey, the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

At this time, authorities are not releasing any details about a possible motive for the shooting.

Swat team responds to active shooter call at the Sparks Middle School. Swat team responds to active shooter call at the Sparks Middle School.

In just this decade alone, there have been over a dozen active shooter incidents at elementary, middle and high schools across this country.

December 14, 2012 - Sandy Hook Elementary School - Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, murders 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before killing himself. Police later discover the shooter’s mother dead from a gunshot wound. The final count is 28 dead, including the shooter.

February 27, 2012 - A shooting occurs at Chardon High School in Ohio. Three students were murdered by student gunman T.J. Lane, 17. Lane is sentenced to life in prison in March, 2013.

January 5, 2011 - Millard South High School, Omaha, Nebraska. Robert Butler, 17, opens fire on principal Curtis Case and vice principal Vicki Kasper. Butler then kills himself about a mile from the school. Vice principal Kasper later died at the hospital.

February 5, 2010 - Discovery Middle School, Madison, Alabama. A ninth grade student dies after being shot in the head by another student. The shooter is taken into custody.

August 21, 2008 - Central High School, Knoxville, Tennessee. An unnamed teen shoots and kills another teen. The suspect is arrested by police.

January 3, 2007 - Henry Foss High School, Tacoma, Washington. Student Douglas Chanthabouly, 18, fatally shoots another student. Chanthabouly is taken into custody by police.

October 2, 2006 - Georgetown Amish School, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. Charles Roberts IV, 32, entered an Amish school and takes at least 11 girls hostage. Five girls were killed and six others wounded. Roberts then killed himself.

September 29, 2006 - Weston High School, Cazenovia, Wisconsin. Eric Hainstock, 15, goes to school armed with a shotgun and a handgun. He shoots and kills the school principal. He is convicted of murder in August 2007 and sentenced to life in prison.

September 27, 2006 - Platte Canyon High School, Bailey, Colorado. Duane Morrison, 54, takes six female students hostage. When SWAT teams enter the school, Morrison shoots 16-year-old Emily Keyes, who later dies at the hospital. Morrison dies from a self-inflicted shot.

November 8, 2005 - Campbell County Comprehensive High School, Jacksboro, Tennessee. A 15-year-old student opens fire on a principal and two assistant principals, killing one of them and critically wounding another.

March 21, 2005 - Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. 16-year-old Jeff Weise kills his grandfather and another adult, four fellow students, a teacher and a security officer. He then killed himself.

September 24, 2003 - Rocori High School - Cold Spring, Minnesota. Jason McLaughlin, 15, shoots and kills two students. McLaughlin is taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder.

April 24, 2003 - Red Lion Area Junior High School - Red Lion, Pennsylvania. James Sheets, 14, brings a gun to school and kills his principal and then himself.

March 5, 2001 - Santana High School - Santee, California.  Fifteen year-old Charles "Andy" Williams kills two classmates, a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old, and injures 13. Williams is sentenced in 2002 to at least 50 years in prison.

May 26, 2000 - Lake Worth Community Middle School - Lake Worth, Florida. Nathaniel Brazill, 13, is being sent home for misbehaving, returns to school and shoots and kills his teacher. Brazill is sentenced to 28 years in prison.

February 29, 2000 - Buell Elementary School - Mount Morris Township, Michigan. An unnamed six-year-old boy shoots and kills a six-year-old playmate, Kayla Rolland, at school. He is removed from his mother's custody and put up for adoption.


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Another Mass Shooting Claims 12 Victims

Twelve people were killed and another eight injured when a gunman opened fire, as he perched on an overlook above an atrium at the Washington Navy Yard yesterday. The shooter, identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, died in a gun battle with police.

Ages of the victims killed range from 46 to 73 years. Police still have not released all the victims’ names pending notification of their families. Three of the five injured victims were shot, including a 23 year veteran of the Washington D.C. police department, who was shot twice in the leg. The other five victims were hospitalized for contusions and chest pains. Officer Scott Williams and the other injured victims are all expected to survive.

Alexis was a Navy reservist for four years before being honorably discharged in 2011. His records reveal several run-ins with police. These incidents show a possible issue with anger management. A Navy official said they had originally sought to kick out Alexis with a general discharge because of his pattern of misconduct while in uniform, however, because of the slow process, when Alexis requested an honorable discharge, the Navy granted it.

For the past few years, Alexis had been working as a military contractor. There are reports that he was involved in some kind of dispute with the company he was working for and felt he was owed money. He had just arrived in D.C. last week for a project at the Navy Yard and had a security clearance and a valid military identification card, known as a common access card, allowing him unfettered access into most facilities.


Members of the active shooter teams on site at Washington Navy Yard's mass shooting. Members of the active shooter teams on site at Washington Navy Yard's mass shooting.


According to law enforcement, Alexis drove onto the grounds of the navy yard on Monday morning with three weapons in his vehicle. He took the weapons out, proceeded into Building 197 and opened fire. Questions have been raised as to how he was actually able to gain access to Building 197, brandishing weapons since the building is supposed to have armed security at the door and those entering need to present credentials to enter.

There were several shootouts between Alexis and active shooter teams before he was brought down by a D.C. police officer and a U.S. Park police officer.

The Navy Yard shooting marks the seventh time in the past decade that a gunman has killed 10 or more people in a single incident. In 2007, 32 people were killed in the Virginia Tech; 13 people were killed in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting; last year, 12 people were shot and killed at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater; and the Newtown, Conn. school shooting last year in which 26 people were killed, including 20 children.

Emergency Film Group’s Active Shooter: Rapid Response covers the key topics in preparing for and responding to a mass shooting. The film also offers guidance for school officials and emergency operation centers. Organizations of all kinds, in 39 states and abroad, are using the film to prepare – often showing the film to start an exercise involving schools and the emergency response community. To learn more, read here

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