Local first responders react to the Florida school shooting

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Local first responders react to Fla. tragedy: Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at Noon on February 15, 2018. (WPVI)

Less than 24 hours after first responders rushed in to the devastating aftermath of one of the deadliest school shootings in US modern history, local first responders and caregivers were honored at Philadelphia City Hall.

The horror witnessed by the country Wednesday afternoon loomed large in the minds of many in attendance, including Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Theil.

"I can tell you certainly as I saw some of the news coverage it was a trigger for me, so it's a challenge to watch, and it's sad," Thiel told Action News. "I'm not afraid to say I was crying watching the coverage."

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross expressed frustration at how often these events seem to happen.

"In the greatest country on Earth, to me, it defies logic that we can't come up with something that makes sense," said Ross. "Nothing short of utter frustration is what I feel when I hear about these things."

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, now a police consultant, expressed similar sentiments.

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Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey speaks to Action News concerning the deadly Florida shooting on February 15, 2018.

Speaking on CNN Thursday morning, and also with Action News from south Florida, he expressed doubt that effective change would come from lawmakers.

Instead, Ramsey encouraged Americans to push for sensible gun laws.

"Citizens have to get involved," he said. "Congress is definitely not going to get involved. I've lost all hope that Congress will do anything, especially after Sandy Hook. If that didn't move the needle, then certainly this most recent school shooting is not going to move the needle either."

Both Ross and Thiel sought to assure the public Thursday that the members of the departments they lead have been thoroughly trained and perform regular drills in how to handle situations like the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

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