Students participate in first responder training

RRHS students participate in first responder training
Posted on 10/18/2021
First responders escort two students during first responder training

“it’s the students, they are incredibly vital to the success of these trainings.” bruce whitney, icsave

By Shannon Enciso

Rio Rico Medical and Fire District (RRMFD), Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Management (SCCOEM) in conjunction with Integrated Community Solutions to Active Violence Events ( conducted Public Safety Integration training with the help of Rio Rico High School students.

ICSAVE volunteer Bruce Whitney, who, with more than 30 years experience in military and public safety, coordinated the training. Whitney is one of many professional volunteers who teach and train emergency preparedness across Arizona. After a recent shooting involving the AMR ambulance crew, Tucson Fire Department and Tucson Police Department, local agencies reached out to ICSAVE for training.

Local responders from around Santa Cruz County, representing fire, law enforcement, and customs and border protection participated in the two day training. Day one of training included classroom instruction, while second day activities provided responders an opportunity to put learned skills into action. Scenarios included bomb and mass shooting situations. (suicide bombing recreation shown left)

According to Whitney, the activities are designed to train professionals to work together in the event of an emergency, “to get into areas, such as schools quickly to both stop the killing and actually stop the dying. In order to do that, firefighter unit professionals will have a security escort, law enforcement will provide a layer of protection while they are rendering aid to patients.”

When tailoring the training specifically to Santa Cruz County, Whitney said responders requested school emergencies be the focus for the training which is why Esplendor Resort was chosen. The building and courtyard has very similar characteristics of a school campus.

Theatre, JROTC and law enforcement students were invited to participate in training as wounded and non wounded victims and theatre students applied moulage (pictured right) . At the sound of Hollywood gunfire, students would spread out in teams and hide in different rooms waiting for responders to find them. Hollywood ammunition are typically used during the training, because they are louder and more intense sounding.

Once found, medical responders would assess and treat wounds utilizing integrated point-of-wound care skills. Law enforcement was there to provide a clear and safe path for medical responders to attend the wounds and move victims.

Students were instructed to role play and react as they would in the case of a real emergency. Students were instructed to role play and react as they would in the case of a real emergency. “This provided a realistic aspect, students are incredibly vital to the success of these trainings,'' said Whitney. Students could be heard crying, moaning, some were unable to walk because of their assigned wound. Darlene Lara-Cordova (Law and Public Safety student, pictured with medical professionals above), pretended to struggle against medical attention in an attempt to conceal a weapon. Darlene is a Law and Public Safety student who has plans of going into law enforcement. “I would like to enlist in the military and do school at the same time and study criminal justice. I’m looking forward to becoming a Border patrol agent and getting experience and would love to transfer to the FBI after that and become a Special agent.” When asked how the exercise helped her future plans, she said,”this has helped me to understand a little more about what law enforcement agencies are actually about.”

(For a full photo gallery, click here)


Rio Rico High School students participated in Santa Cruz County Public Safety Integration Training. The video below contains clips from the training. The safety and well being of students is always our top priority. All gunshots fired during this training were blanks.