Roll Call Release: Increasing Awareness and Officer Safety
IAFC On Scene: April 15, 2012
In the decade since 9/11, great strides have been made to increase intelligence-information sharing between the intelligence community and law-enforcement entities. Billions of dollars have been spent to increase awareness and preparedness for another potential terrorist attack.
Even with these successful efforts, however, the fire and emergency service still lag behind law enforcement in embracing its role in terrorism awareness and prevention.
This can be attributed to many factors; one is the difficulty in receiving relevant intelligence on current tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) used by terrorist organizations.
Firefighters and EMS providers may encounter these TTPs while responding to, operating at and returning from emergencies, as well as in the course of their normal duties. To better engage in situational awareness and terrorism prevention, the fire/EMS communities must understand the current threat environment and how it impacts their daily operations.
The Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG) is a group of state and local first responders assigned to National Counterterrorism Center with federal-intelligence analysts for the purpose of integrating, analyzing and assisting in the dissemination of federally coordinated information.
ITACG law-enforcement personnel developed and designed the Roll Call Release (RCR) as a one-page document highlighting a single TTP. As the product matured, it has been repurposed to include fire, EMS and security personnel as its target audience.
The RCR is a quick snapshot advising fire/EMS department personnel to be aware of the TTP, how it could be used and a photograph of what personnel might encounter, along with other indicators and countermeasures.
The RCR increases situational awareness and officer safety while promoting suspicious-activity reporting. The goal of the product is to arm first responders with the knowledge to recognize potentially dangerous situations—which may have gone unrecognized without the background information—and take protective actions when needed. This includes reporting suspicious activities to the proper authorities through the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Report Initiative channels.
There are currently 77 published RCRs. A few of the published Roll Call Release subjects of interest to fire and EMS responders include:
- Terrorist Impersonation of First Responders
- Mobilization of Violent Extremists in the United States
- Update: Small-Unit Assault Tactics, Techniques and Procedures
- Use of Motorcycles in Suicide Attacks
- Violent Extremist Manuals: A Potential Indicator of Chemical or Biological Production Efforts
- Indicators of Suspicious Chemical, Biological and Radiological Activity
- Suspicious Vehicle Fires
- Mubtakar: An Improvised Cyanide-Producing Device
- Pressure Cookers as IED Components
Fire service personnel can access the RCR through several outlets. Each state and major urban-area fusion center receives the RCR directly from publication. You can contact your local fusion-center representative to discuss enhancing the fire service’s collaborative role and to gain access to important intelligence and situational awareness products, including the RCR. Building a relationship with your fusion center is the best avenue to enhance cooperation and collaboration of fire/EMS service related products.
RCRs are also posted on the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) and Law Enforcement Online. These secure intelligence networks require an account, which can be obtained by applying with your home fire/EMS department as your sponsoring agency.
The U.S. Fire Administration maintains the Emergency Management and Response – Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC), which operates a community of interest (COI) on HSIN to share official-use-only information with the vetted leadership of emergency services sector departments and agencies nationwide.
The EMR-ISAC COI homepage includes announcements and alerts, federal and state products, terrorism-threat news feeds and other useful links. For information about the EMR-ISAC and access to the HSIN COI, email EMR-ISAC@fema.dhs.gov, call 301-447-1325 or visit www.usfa.dhs.gov/EMR-ISAC.
Once you have identified the COI, you will need to be nominated and vetted into the COI. You’ll have to provide the following information on the HSIN membership application:
- A valid email address
- Valid contact information
Once accepted into HSIN, an email will be sent with log-in instructions. Select your COI, select Documents and then in the search box type “Roll Call Release.” This will display documents in chronological order.
Battalion Chief Kathleen Stanley of Fairfax County (Va.) Fire and Rescue is currently on assignment with the Interagency Threat Assessment Coordination Group.
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