Mass shooting active shooter

First Responder Awareness Card

CarolinaFireJournal - August Vernon
August Vernon
10/14/2010 -

It appears that the “bad guys” (criminal elements and terrorists) are more determined, violent and heavily armed than ever before. Crisis situations such as terrorist threats, criminal attacks and active shooters are occurring with alarming frequency. 


Dispatch and Response Phase

  • Nature of the call and location are important. When responding get all the dispatch information available.
  • Current threat environment and intelligence could be applicable to a mass shooting/active shooter response. Is location a school, college or high profile business? 



Arrival on Scene

  • Slow down when approaching the area and conduct a 360-degree scan during your scene size-up or “windshield survey”.
  • Look for people, activities and objects that seem out of place for the location or time of the call - if it looks suspicious it probably is.
  • Use secured Staging Area to limit number of responders - don’t stack up responders and resources in one location. This also makes resource coordination more manageable. 
  • Quickly establish an outer security perimeter.
  • Always be aware of secondary attacks or threats!

Approaching the Area

  • Utilize Incident Command System (ICS) and Unified Command ASAP!
  • Establish Hazard Control Zones around the suspected or actual event (Hot, Warm, and Cold). Limit the number of responders entering the “Hot Zone”. 
  • Always have an escape route open to leave the scene quickly if needed. 
  • Scan the area using binoculars: spotting scopes or vehicle-mounted cameras if possible before approaching. 
  • If you must approach the event use shielding and cover to your advantage.
  • Law Enforcement will deploy quickly using Rapid Deployment/Immediate Deployment Tactics.

This response sheet is for training and informational purposes only. Please utilize local guidelines, training and procedures.

August Vernon is currently the Assistant Coordinator/Operations Officer for the Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management, NC. He is author of the new First Responders Critical Incident Field Guide published by Red Hat Publishing.

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