The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and ASIS International (ASIS) have launched a joint initiative to address active shooter incidents, the two ANSI-accredited Standards Developing Organizations announced.
In a statement, the two groups said they “recognize the need to collectively address the intersections of security, safety and fire safety management to maximize protection of human and physical assets during active shooter incidents,” adding that, “Given the unpredictable and rapid nature of active shooter events, it is critical that schools and educational institutions, entertainment and sporting facilities, religious establishments, and organizations of all types and sizes, have the best tools at their disposal to manage security, safety and fire risks associated with mass violence.”
A kick-off stakeholder meeting in Arlington, Virginia on January 19, 2016 is slated to bring together over fifty standards developers, industry groups and members of law enforcement, government, and academia to explore how to address administrative, management, and technology issues related to active shooter events.
“Active shooter incidents are unpredictable and evolve rapidly. Violent attacks at gatherings, businesses and public facilities have significant consequences,” said Dr. Marc H. Siegel, commissioner, ASIS Global Standards Initiative.
Consequently, he stated, “It is essential to better prepare for and respond to these types of incidents. The intent of this meeting is to bring together the foremost active shooter experts from across the spectrum of security, fire and safety in an effort to develop tools for organizations of any size and sector, to best protect human life and physical assets.”
”Security, fire protection and life safety communities need to develop a coordinated effort to address these low probability-high consequence events in our society,” added Robert Solomon, division manager, NFPA Building Fire Protection. “By implementing the best technology, architectural, and management strategies, we can strengthen our defenses and resilience against active shooters. Given the short response time to active shooter incidents, people need the technology and training to buy time essential to survival, and to minimize losses and consequences of an attack.”
Topics of discussion will include:
- Assessing the risks of an active shooter event;
- Actions to take to prevent and prepare for an active shooter event;
- Recognizing potential indicators of violence;
- Responding to an active shooter event;
- Actions to take when confronted by an active shooter;
- Communication and interfacing with law enforcement officials and first responders;
- Managing and mitigating the consequences of an active shooter event; and
- Seamless integration between security and fire-safety measures and regulations.
“The objective,” the two groups said in a joint statement, “is to provide guidance to organizations and individuals, to prepare for and minimize the likelihood of an event, as well as respond to and recover from an active shooter situation. The meeting will identify the need for technology and management measures as well as awareness and training programs to enhance active shooter mitigation and emergency management. The outcome of the NFPA/ASIS initiative will provide guidance for organizations to consider when developing tailored site-specific plans and procedures.”
Organizations interested in attending the January 19, 2016 meeting should contact firstname.lastname@example.org by December 11. Please note that space is limited. Contact Sue Carioti, director of ASIS Standards and Guidelines at +1-703-518-1416 or Robert Solomon, NFPA’s division manager, Building Fire Protection at +1-617-984-7464 for questions and additional information.
Meanwhile, survival medical expert Dr. Joseph Alton, author of, The Survival Medicine Handbook, said because Americans are at increasing risk from active shooter incidents, every citizen should formulate a standing plan of action for trips to crowded public areas. He also believes that every school, business and public building should have readily available medical kits with training provided for employees, students and the general public.
"Just as youshould remember ‘stop, drop, roll’ if you’re on fire, you should remember, ‘run, hide, fight,’ if you’re under fire by a gunman,” Alton said.
Continuing, Alton explained that because the average person tends to follow the crowd or become paralyzed with fear in active shooter settings, making them easy targets for an assassin, citizens should practice "situational awareness" and have a plan of action will give the average citizen the best chance of surviving a mass casualty event.
"Whenever you’re at the mall or other public place, look for the nearest exits as you walk along. Keep an eye out for unusual behavior and steer clear of any suspicious characters,” Alton said. “If you hear anything that sounds like gunfire, run in the opposite direction to an exit you previously marked mentally; call 911 once you reach a safe location."
"If running isn’t an option, hide in a room with a door that can be locked,” he added. “Push heavy furniture against the door, turn off the lights and silence your cell phone. Stay quiet behind an additional barrier like a table. You’ll become harder to find and reach; the shooter will probably look for easier targets."
"Finally, if neither running nor hiding is possible, you might have to fight,” Alton stated, noting that, “A target that’s resisting is harder to kill that one that is cowering under a chair. If you commit to fighting, charge the gunman from the side or rear, throwing objects and disrupting his ‘flow.’ When you reach him, grab for his weapon so as to control where it’s pointed. If you can get others to fight as well, do it in a coordinated fashion from different directions. The attacker is probably not a marksman or James Bond, and your chances of survival greatly increase."