NFPA Set to Publish New Standard for Active Shooter and Hostile Events Featured

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 00:00 Written by  Super User
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Guest blog written by Battalion Chief Robert Avsec (Ret.)

NFPA 3000

For only the second time in its 121-year history, the National Fire Protection Association is preparing to publish a new standard, NFPA 3000: Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events, with provisional standard status. Provisional standards are developed when there is a serious life safety concern that warrants an abbreviated standards development process.

Active shooters and hostile events

It's no secret that in the U.S. we're besieged by an epidemic of gun-related violence. Regardless of your political views on the issue, if you're in public safety work (fire, EMS, law enforcement) you've got to be concerned about the possibility of your community "being next" as the location for an active shooter (AS) incident or hostile event (HE).

With just five percent of the world's population, the U.S. holds the unfortunate claim to 31 percent of all public mass shootings. Note the devastating impact of just three such events in the U.S. (Table 1 below).





Shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida

June 12, 2016



Shooting in at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, Nevada

October 1, 2017



Shooting in Sutherland, Texas

November 5, 2017



Table 1. Over the course of nearly 17 months from June of 2016 until early November 2017, a trio of domestic perpetrators inflicted nearly half the casualties that the nation witnessed during a 13-year period from 2000 through 2013. From 2000 to 2013, the U.S. experienced 160 AS or HE incidents that resulted in 486 deaths and 557 injuries (Those death and injury numbers do not include the deaths or injuries of any perpetrators or suspects). Source: FBI.gov. https://www.fbi.gov/about/partnerships/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-incidents-graphics.

The "Tipping Point"

As the numbers for active shooter incidents and the escalating impact of hostile events have increased, most public safety agencies have begun developing policies, SOGs, and protocols for how "they" would respond. Those agency-specific policies, SOGs, and such, however, many times overlook the important lessons learned or reinforced with every AS or HE:

- The need for Unified Command
- The need for an Integrated Response, including one Incident Action Plan, that considers the operations of multiple—and different—agencies.
- The need for Recovery Planning to help public safety agencies and their personnel and the community at large to restore a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible.

Shortly after the horrific mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016, representatives from a wide variety of public safety agencies and allied organizations came together to seek a common solution that could be used by all public safety agencies. During the week of September 25th, 2016, a newly formed NFPA Technical Committee of over 50 experts and guests from across the country met in Orlando, Florida to begin working on the development of the draft for NFPA 3000.

NFPA 3000's Technical Committee

The Technical Committee is a critical element of the NFPA's consensus standards-setting process, and the Technical Committee for NFPA 3000 represents the diversity of "voices" that make for the development of a good consensus standard:

- National organizations representing law enforcement, fire, and EMS;
- U.S Department of Homeland Security;
- U.S Department of Justice;
- FBI;
- NSA;
- Hospitals;
- Private security industry; and
- Universities

NFPA 3000's DNA

NFPA 3000 will by no means be an "out of the blue" standard by any measure. Members of the Technical Committee and their networks of connections brought a host of information, best practices, and experiences to the development process. For example:

The Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) guidelines are the civilian counterpart to the U.S. military's Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines. The TCCC guidelines were developed for military personnel providing medical care for the wounded during combat operations on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.

These guidelines have proven extraordinarily effective in saving lives on the battlefield, and thus provide the foundation for TECC. The TECC considers the specific nuances of civilian first responders and has already been used by public safety agencies to develop local SOGs for hemorrhage control and rapid extraction of severely wounded patients.

The Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) guidelines, adapted from the military's experience, that have been in use for a while helping public safety agencies to develop SOPS.

Additionally, input (e.g., position papers, guidance, and recommendations) from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) added greatly to the development of NFPA 3000.

NFPA 3000 gets a "bump" to provisional standard

Not only was the NFPA Standards Council moved to approve the development of NFPA 3000 by the testimony presented by the Technical Committee, the nature of that testimony influenced members of the Standards Council to "bump" NFPA 3000's development process into that rarified provisional status.

With that designation, the typical standards development and approval process for NFPA 3000 was condensed so that the standard could be issued in a shorter time-frame in the interest of public safety, and in this case particularly, first responder safety. NFPA 3000 will be available for use by all public safety agencies and the allied partners and their communities in April 2018.

What's going to be in NFPA 3000?

NFPA 3000 is not a tactical or strategy document. The Technical Committee recognized that there is too much variation from agency to agency and community to community to attempt to standardize local tactics. (And honestly, who wants the "bad guys" to know what our tactics are?).

Instead, the Technical Committee considered AS and HE from the "30,000-foot" level. So, NFPA 3000 will establish preparedness, response and recovery benchmarks with a focus on integrated protocols, as well as civilian and responder safety. When issued, the standard will provide guidance for organizing, managing, and sustaining an active preparedness and response program so that the risk, effect, and impact of hostile events can be reduced.

The Technical Committee formed task groups and developed 20 chapters and three appendices that address different components of preparedness, response, and recovery (See Figure 1 below). Technical Committee members focused on the need for interoperability using common language, clear and open communication, safety among peers, and resolving the incident in a unified and effective manner.


Figure 1. The first three chapters of NFPA 3000 are like all NFPA standards: Administration; Referenced Publications; and Definitions. This graphic shows 17 chapters that form the "meat" of the standard. In addition, there are 3 Appendices to the standard: Appendix A-Explanatory Material; Appendix B-Regulations, Consensus Standards, and Guidance Documents.

In a January 8th, 2018 press release, NFPA President Jim Pauley said, "Hostile events are happening with greater frequency and ferocity today. It's critical that we take steps to protect people from this increasing threat. By employing the unified response outlined in NFPA 3000, first responders, facility managers, hospital officials, and community members can minimize risk before, during and after these devastating incidents."

Pauley went on to say, "We were clearly hearing the need for such a standard from those on the frontlines. Through this process, we can respond quickly to provide a critical body of knowledge to those who are faced with such horrendous events, ultimately making them and the public safer."

ATS Offers Active Shooter Response Course in a variety of ways
ATS's new course, Active Shooter Response (ASR), is part of the ATS Incident Command and Management Series and presents an overview of best practices for Fire/EMS personnel when working with law enforcement at the scene of an active shooter incident.

Pre-incident planning activities are outlined including the importance of joint training exercises. Also included is an introduction to Tactical Emergency Casualty Care Guidelines (TECC) and a review of recommended emergency medical treatment skills for high-threat environments and extraction techniques. (Total Running Time is 31:10)

The ATS Incident Command and Management (ICM) series totals seven modules. Those modules, cover pertinent information that students will find valuable in working with NFPA 3000 (e.g., interoperability, common terminology, and unified command). Modules in the ICM series can be completed: (1) online as single modules or the complete 7-module series; (2) as single DVDs; or (3) as part of a 7-DVD series.

For more information on Action Training Systems' video resources call 800.755.1440 ext 3 or email info@action-training.com

Robert Avsec

Battalion Chief Robert Avsec (Ret.) served with the Chesterfield (Va.) Fire & EMS Department for 26 years. He was an active instructor for fire, EMS, and hazardous materials courses at the local, state, and federal levels, which included more than 10 years with the National Fire Academy. Chief Avsec earned his bachelor of science degree from the University of Cincinnati and his master of science degree in executive fire service leadership from Grand Canyon University. He is a 2001 graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program. Since his retirement in 2007, he has continued to be a life-long learner working in both the private and public sectors to further develop his "management sciences mechanic" credentials. He makes his home near Charleston, W.Va.

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