CBS 4 | By Joel Waldman | May 30, 2022
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s a simulation on a computer screen that has sadly become an alarming part of our reality: active shooter causing carnage at a school.
“It’s absolute chaos, especially on two-way radio, where you can only talk one at a time and you have so many officers on scene,” explained retired Hallandale Beach Police Department Maj. Ed McGovern.
He knows about the chaos all too well, part of the response to both the Fort Lauderdale International Airport shooting and Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
”At MSD, at one point, our radio system completely collapsed because there were too many people on it,” McGovern told CBS4 News.
It’s why McGovern founded CERA, or Critical Event Response Applications. It’s a software application which is changing how police, fire and EMS respond to mass casualty events. Until now, incredibly, they’ve only had audio from 2-way radios and 911 dispatchers to work with.
”We provide a visual response platform where we can see all officers from all agencies in a unified command setting,” McGovern explained.
First responders, students and staff are all linked together on their cellphones and within seconds, emergency protocols are initiated on campus, then come incoming suspect reports and, then, reports plot the suspect’s location in real time.
”The reporting that’s coming in, live reporting , with that intelligence, this is where that suspect is, is basically creating a path of that suspect. We can even track the direction of travel.”
“Tell me what’s going on?” a police officer in the computer simulations asks a female student. She responds, “I’ve been shot!”
CERA even helps cut down response time to injured students and staff who typically must wait for a warm zone to be declared by police.
”We can use the video conference feature thru CERA to assess the injury, we can take note, we can provide first aid instructions to stabilize long enough to help them survive,” McGovern explained.
”I’m going to have you listen to me, but have you put your phone down, so you can listen to my instructions,” the simulation continued.
Instructions and, more importantly, a breakthrough in software technology, giving first responders eyes on the ground, that just might save you or your child’s life.
”We’re driven by saving lives, that’s what we deem success, by the number of lives we save.”