Newtown first responder sees similarities in Boston bombings - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Newtown first responder sees similarities in Boston bombings

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

Lt. Christopher Vanghele of the Newtown Police Department was the keynote speaker at Thursday's 24th annual Victim Rights Conference.

The first responder told CBS 3 that he can see similarities between the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and the Boston Marathon bombings.

Vanghele was one of the first Newtown police officers on the scene during the Sandy Hook shootings last December. When he saw what happened in Boston just a week and a half ago, he could relate to what he saw on television.

"They said this during Boston, and I know this was true during Sandy Hook, when there is danger, the first responders are the ones that are running towards it," said Vanghele. "That is really their first instinct. They can overcome that 'fight or flight' and just go in and do what they need to do to help."

For many, overcoming that instinct to run away is not easy. Vanghele said it really comes down to the practice hours put in should a disaster occur.

"Training is a huge part of it, so that you are ready for the situation," Vanghele stated. "You are ready to know what to do and you are ready to understand how your body is normally going to react in a situation like this."

Vanghele said delivering a presentation on what he experienced is therapeutic, but more than that, he wants other first responders to be ready should they face similar circumstances.

"The reason we are doing it is so other professionals can learn from us," said Vanghele. "Hopefully if they are in the same situations, they can draw lessons from us that would help them."

Thursday's seminar was put on by the Hampden County District Attorney's Office and Baystate Continuing Education.

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