Fresno first responders receive help to cope with shock, aftermath of mass shooting

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It only took Fresno first responders minutes to arrive at Sunday night's mass shooting scene and jump into action to help the victims.

But while the screams and sirens have ended, the images of that night will remain with many for a lifetime.

"As I'm listening to radio traffic, I have to wash out those screams of those mothers and daughters screaming out for their fathers and uncles," said Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Tony Escobedo.

Escobedo participated in a mass casualty shooter training on Tuesday. But just two days before, he was one of the first to respond to the deadly shooting in the Lamona Avenue neighborhood.

Though the shooters were still on the loose, he says their first goal was to help those in need in the midst of chaos.

"We had family members become first responders...putting pressure on wounds keeping heads elevated," Escobedo said.

It's a devastating situation that many won't forget.

Fresno Police Officer Jesus Cerda says they plan to have a critical incident debriefing for immediate first responders to share their thoughts about the tragedy and get them connected to any services they may need.

"They work on autopilot. They're doing what they're trained to do," Cerda said. "Afterward its when the autopilot goes away, and they're human and they just witnessed something horrific. We make sure they understand that we're available for them."

Along with a range of mental health services, the police department also has an app to help connect officers with peer support officials.

Officers say after dealing with situations like a mass shooting, services like these are crucial to help them heal.

"When they go to an incident like this and the aftermath, we look at how to take care of them. They're broken-hearted that something like this would happen in their community," said Fresno Police Lt. Tim Tietjen.

But no matter the situation, the first responders are staying prepared to help their community.
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