Dr. Tim Smith, a Red Springs native who currently resides in Clinton, has worked as an emergency medicine physician in Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department in Lumberton for the past four years and, before medical school, for three years as a physician assistant.
He, along with Nestor “Rico” Rivera, who was recently credited with helping to save a law enforcement officer following an accidental shooting in Lumberton, joined forces two years ago to create an agency to train paramedics and law enforcement officers how to handle active shooter situations, focusing specifically on the immediate treatment of gunshot, knife and other types of critical wounds.
Their agency has now trained several hundred EMTs and officers throughout Robeson and Sampson counties on lifesaving skills including rescue taskforces, injury treatment and triage. Smith recently completed basic law enforcement training and uses his medical education and skills used as a former marine physician to guide the training. Rivera is a trained, seasoned paramedic and Maxton police officer.
“Our goal is to teach law enforcement and first responders how to care for wounds like gunshot wounds, where timing is critical, and we know this training is saving lives,” Smith said. “The average time for a victim in an active shooter situation to receive medical care is typically 25 minutes. We hope to cut that time to four to six minutes with these secondary, specially-trained teams of professionals.”
Specific aspects of the tactical medical training, which can span one to five days, depending on the training level, includes how to apply dressings and tourniquets, administer IV fluids, and the application of TXA clotting medication, which was recently added to Robeson County ambulances.
“Tactical medics provide care to officers and victims during tactical law enforcement situations,” said Dr. John Reed, medical director for SRMC Emergency Services and Robeson County EMS. “The training and skills of tactical medics exceeds that of other EMS technicians. They can initiate care so that injured individuals arrive at the ED with improved odds of survival from critical injuries.”