Paramedic recounts terrifying night of mass shooting

LAS VEGAS - When the shots rang out one month ago, a team of paramedics was already at the Route 91 concert venue.

Henderson-based community ambulance had been providing routine first aid throughout the Harvest Music Festival.

Their quick decisions likely saved dozens more lives.

Rescuers train and train so that there's no hesitation to react to just about any scenario they might come across.

But when the shooting started, it didn't take paramedics who were already at the venue to realize there would be nothing routine about their response.

"Even on Sunday, we were seeing our regular flow of what we would expect on any other Sunday at the Route 91 concert," said Glen Simpson, special event manager, Community Ambulance.

Simpson was one of 16 community ambulance employees wrapping up their duty after three days of providing first aid at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

In an instant, everything changed.

"I was on Las Vegas Boulevard when the shooting began, along with five Metro officers," he said.

Now under fire, these first responders turned into combat medics. The sheer magnitude of the situation warranted extraordinary action.

"We don't train to get shot at, we don't train to go out there and provide care in hostile environments such as this one, and our team came and showed what they were able to do," Simpson said.

Twenty two thousand concertgoers, more than 500 wounded, and tragically some of the 58, who lost their lives were already dead inside the venue.

It didn't matter how -- the goal was -- to get everyone who needed help to the hospital.

"At one point, I had crews arriving, they were taking their gurneys out of the trucks, leaving the gurneys curbside, just so we could make room for more patients."

The first ambulances out had as many as eight patients on board. While waiting for ambulances from across the valley to arrive, they helped load people into stranger's vehicles.

Simpson is struck by how everyone pitched in to help during the tragedy and touched by the response since.

"There's no timeline on as to when we'll all be OK, so to speak, but we know together, and with the continued support of the community, that you know, it's VegasStrong, and that's what we're going to be at the end of the day," Simpson said.  

Ambulances came and went for hours that night. Simpson says, they were still finding victims and taking them to the hospital until almost 4 a.m. nearly 6 hours after the shooting.


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