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Active shooter events so common, first responders now have a standard response guide

How active shooter training has changed and become an important tool for law enforcement

Active shooter training has evolved for law enforcement in the past few years, and local officers from municipalities in Johnson County gathered to practice with civilian participants at Antioch Church.
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Active shooter training has evolved for law enforcement in the past few years, and local officers from municipalities in Johnson County gathered to practice with civilian participants at Antioch Church.

Active shooter situations have become so common in the United States that the response to them has been bureaucratized with standard protocols.

The National Fire Protection Association has created what it calls the world's first active shooter/hostile event response standard. The 48-page document titled NFPA 3000 outlines everything from an incident command system to protocols for "hot zones" and casualty collection points.

"As more hostile events continue to occur, it is critical for law enforcement, first responders, emergency personnel, facility managers, hospital officials, community members and others to have the information they need to be prepared when attacks happen," the association said.

According to the FBI, there were 220 active shooter events from 2000 to 2016 resulting in 661 deaths and 825 injuries.

The Orlando Pulse nightclub attack in June 2016, in which 49 people were killed, prompted Orange County, Fla., Fire Chief Otto Drozd to ask the fire protection association to develop a standard of operating procedures.

A 46-member committee, the association's largest, included representatives from law enforcement, emergency medical services, private businesses, the department of Homeland Security the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Among the incidents they studied were attacks at the Pulse, the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas (58 killed October 2017), Sandy Hook Elementary School in Netown, Conn. (27 killed December 2012), the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. (6 killed August 2012) and the Boston Marathon (3 killed April 2013).

The NFPA is a 122-year-old membership organization that has developed standards for the fire service as well as for private industry. The actual contents of the active shooter standard are proprietary. It can be purchased for $52.

"The proactive, integrated strategies recommended and defined in NFPA 3000 will go a long way in helping communities plan, respond and recover from active shooter and hostile events," association President Jim Pauley said in announcing the new standard.

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