Combat-tested active assailant training available at Pleasant Valley fire company this weekend

The Carroll County Emergency Services Association is offering active assailant training for the public, beginning with a free, four-hour course to be held Sunday at the Pleasant Valley volunteer fire company, 2030 Pleasant Valley Road, Westminster.

A joint presentation of CCVESA and the Emergency Health Services Program of George Washington University, the class — known as Tactical Emergency Casualty Care for First Care — will run from noon to 4 p.m.


It is designed to teach people the skills needed to locate safety in an active shooter or active assailant situation, as well as how to treat themselves or others if they are injured during such an attack, according to David Coe, EMS operations chairman for CCVESA.

“These classes will educate people on the proper actions to take so that they can better protect themselves, possibly avoid becoming one of the victims,” he said. “You need to become prepared so you are able to handle things.”

This is the first active assailant training sponsored by CCVESA, according to Coe, but the first of three classes that are planned — additional classes will be on Nov. 18 at the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center and Dec. 9 at the Sykesville Freedom District volunteer fire company.

Depending on the response for Sunday’s training class, Coe said the classes may be offered on a regular basis for the community.

“We’ve already seen it happen in Harford County, we’ve come close in Frederick County at Catoctin High School,” he said. “There have been some different threats in Carroll that have been stopped beforehand, but it’s only a matter of time before something happens in Carroll. We want people to be better prepared to save themselves and to lessen the impact of such a tragic event.”

The course has its roots in training programs used for U.S. Special Forces and other military personnel prior to combat deployments, according to course instructor Geoffrey Shapiro, director of EMS and operational medicine training at George Washington University.

“We realized years ago that some of the best lessons learned in the military in battlefield medicine needed to be translated for civilian use,” Shapiro said, taking into account the different resources available and populations potentially affected by violence in the civilian world.

“These classes were established to try and take those best practices that were saving lives on the battlefield and make them appropriate to use back home.”

The techniques discussed will include mental preparation and hands on drilling in lifesaving practices, according to Shapiro.

“We will talk about how to give life-saving interventions, including emergency evacuating someone, how to control life-threatening bleeding, how to keep someone warm and prevent hypothermia and other common causes of death we see during high threat situations,” he said. “And we will talk about the psychological impact it may have on someone. How they can cope to the normal reaction they may have to an abnormal situation.”

More information on the upcoming TECC classes, as well as registration forms, can be found on the CCVESA website at

Though while registration is preferred, Shapiro said, it is not strictly necessary for those making a last-minute decision to attend Sunday’s course.

“If people want to come, we will have plenty of instructional support,” he said.