Departments Revise Policies in Response to Appleton Shooting
Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) On May 15, Appleton firefighter Mitch Lundgaard was struck and killed by a gunshot during what otherwise should have been a routine medical call.
“It’s a horrible reminder of what we face any time we go on a call,” said Fire Chief Scott Owen. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a fire call, or an ambulance call, or even a call involving law enforcement. We just never ever know.”
During an active shooter situation, Marshfield Fire & Rescue responders wear vests and helmets while caring for victims on-scene. Officers watch from the front and back of the group to provide protection.
“The vests that we have are specialized for that. They’re very heavy, very bulky,” he said. “It’s nothing that our crews would wear on a routine EMS call. These are for specialized circumstances.”
The vests are stored at the station and two are outfitted in each ambulance.
“There are several departments that are in the process of purchasing vests for their crews to wear on a daily basis when they go on fire or ambulance calls. There have been several instances of firefighters going to a fire of some sort, getting out of the rig and getting
shot at,” said Owen. “It’s sad that it’s something we have to think of in today’s society.”
Fire departments are looking to prevent another event like Appleton’s by making adjustments to their policies and procedures. Owen often reviews line-of-duty death reports as a way to be proactive about safety at the department.
“We’re going to read about it, we’re gonna learn about it, so that we can prevent it from happening here,” he said. “I think reviewing these reports and making those changes are the least that we can do for those that were killed in the line of duty.”