HEMSI’s Role in the Redstone Arsenal Possible Active Shooter Incident

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A possible active shooter situation on Redstone Arsenal Tuesday put the entire state on high alert. Multiple agencies responded; unsure exactly what their workers would discover on scene.

"We had a common goal and it was to make sure everyone came out safe," said HEMSI Paramedic and Relief Supervisor, Kathy Porter.

Employees on Redstone Arsenal sheltered in place for hours Tuesday afternoon, after reports of an active shooter. Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc., or HEMSI, was one of the responding agencies.

"Due to that fact that we deal with shootings everyday, it amps it up a little because it's in a work place where a lot of people are," said Porter. "It's not an individualized shooting or two shooting, which we get a lot of those at houses, but this is an area where there's a lot of people."

Kathy Porter says typically, according to protocol, HEMSI will usually set up a command post for the scene, as well as a casualty collection point for the injured.

In this case, thankfully, those posts were not needed.

The only medical attention required at the Sparkman Center Tuesday afternoon was for heat related illnesses.

"The people that could just not handle the heat, a couple of people felt faint, so we put them in the back of our ambulances and turn the air conditioning on," said Porter.

HEMSI also works very closely with fire and police departments on scene. Porter says it takes a true team effort to stabilize a situation and it was true of Tuesday's incident as well.

"It worked very well," said Porter. "It was a true test of our resources and our adaptability as well as our ability to function and to work together."