Time Running Short for Input Into NFPA Active Shooter Standard

If you have not reviewed NFPA 3000, Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events, I encourage you to do so now. The public input on the initial standard will close on February 23, 2018. Over the past 12 months, the technical committee has worked diligently to develop a standard to guide communities on these threats; however, we need your guidance to make this a standard that is workable regardless of community size, location or structure.

The committee considered the lessons learned from past events and incorporated them into the standard. For example, a cornerstone of the standard is the requirement for unified command and the need to have law enforcement, fire and EMS side by side during an event. Because of the cross-functional makeup of the technical committee, consideration was given to the very nature of how each discipline must operate at these events and the standard was designed to address those differences. It also provides for standard terminology to reduce on-scene confusion.

The standard provides training standards for personnel responding to these events. It breaks it down between those with law enforcement responsibilities and those with fire and EMS responsibilities. It breaks it down between those with hot zone, warm zone and cold zone responsibilities and even those with responsibilities that are away from the scene.

Probably the most discussed part of the standard is the use of ballistic protection by fire and EMS. The draft standard requires level IIIA ballistic protection for fire and EMS working in the hot or warm zone. It allows departments to decide how they want to deploy the equipment, such as one for everyone, one per riding position, a batch on chief’s vehicles, only designated individuals, etc. It does not require departments to purchase ballistic protection; however, if a department plans to use warm/hot zone operations, protection must be provided.

The draft standard also includes a wide variety of topics such as the need to conduct a risk of assessment of the community and risk assessments of those facilities deemed to be high risk. It provides information on facility readiness to guide facilities in reducing their risks from these types of events through planning and training. It also provides guidance on community recovery.

As you see, this is a comprehensive standard designed to prepare communities. I urge you to go to the NFPA website, review the draft standard and make comments. It does require that you create a login but it is free and easy to do.

David Hall is the University Emergency Manager at Missouri State University and served as fire chief (ret.) for the Springfield (Mo.) Fire Department. He currently serves as a member on the IAFC's Terrorism & Homeland Security Committee and has been a member of the IAFC since 2005.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nicolo J. Daniello.

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