The IAFC recommends that fire and EMS departments remain prepared for possible acts of terror during the fall months. Although there is no specific credible threat reporting at this time, several factors indicate the need for vigilance. These include the ongoing turbulent political climate around COVID-19 mandates, possible emboldening of homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) in what some perceive as a Taliban victory in Afghanistan, and discontent regarding the handling of the end of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and the loss of life among U.S. service members. The Jewish Community, which has been the target of many hate groups, is celebrating its High Holy Days during this week and next week. There is also the ever-present concern of attacks by HVEs, and possible attacks by domestic violent extremists (DVEs), who represent a growing threat. Attacks by HVEs and DVEs are extremely difficult to predict or prevent.
To help fire departments provide service to their communities and protect their personnel, the IAFC has both compiled and developed the following resources:
- Response Considerations: Incidents Involving Crowds Following the 2020 National Election Period: – This document outlines potential threats during the period before, during, and after the November 3 election. It is still relevant in discussing possible threats. This document discusses incidents, including cyber-attacks, civil unrest, and arson. It also includes operational considerations and resources.
- Incidents Involving Crowds During COVID-19 Pandemic: This IAFC document details nine response considerations that fire and EMS departments may encounter when responding to incidents involving large protest crowds that escalate into violence.
- Best Practices for EMS and Fire Response to Incidents During Civil Unrest: This document, prepared by the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, provides information about protecting personnel, vehicles, and stations, along with how to safely operate during a period of civil unrest.
- Violent Extremists & Terrorists Exploit Civil Unrest & Public Assemblies in the U.S.: This two-page report summarizes the civil unrest threat and includes resources for local public safety agencies’ use.
- S2Protecting Infrastructure During Public Demonstrations: This DHS document provides guidance and resources to prevent and mitigate the opportunity for unlawful acts during public demonstrations.
- Urban Fire Forum Civil Unrest White Paper: This 2016 joint IAFC-NFPA-Metro Chiefs document provides information about working with your community, developing unified command with law enforcement, force protection, and operations during periods of civil unrest.
- An Urban Fire Forum Draft Standard Operating Procedure: This 2016 document provides a draft SOP to help fire and EMS departments respond to incidents of civil unrest.
- IAFC Terrorism Response – A Checklist and Guide for Fire Chiefs and Community Preparedness Leaders: This IAFC document provides a framework to help fire, and EMS departments prepare for, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and other large-scale incidents.
- IAFC Checklist for Active Shooter Response: This IAFC resource is a two-page document to help incident commanders when they arrive on scene at an active shooter incident.
- IAFC Active Shooter Toolkit: This members-only IAFC resource provides access to reports, briefings, and other information to help fire and EMS departments prepare for active shooter incidents.
- IAFC Homeland Security Intelligence Guide for Fire Chiefs: This guide provides information to help fire and EMS chiefs contact federal, state, and local homeland security and law enforcement partners to access information about threats to their community.
The IAFC encourages vigilance during this heightened threat period. The Terrorism and Homeland Security Committee is in close contact with our federal intelligence and law enforcement partners and will work diligently to share any priority threat-related information.