I agree to Idea Active Shooter Training for Fire EMS Personnel
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I disagree to Idea Active Shooter Training for Fire EMS Personnel


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Active Shooter Training for Fire EMS Personnel

Our public safety department has done quite a bit of research regarding active shooter incidents, and we are currently evaluating different response models to find options that would best fit our needs. That said, several of our personnel that have attended training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) were curious if they would be offering or considering to offer any sort of active shooter training for Fire and EMS personnel. Specifically, training that introduces Tactical Combat Casualty Care guidelines along with force protection (Rescue Task Force model used by Arlington County, Virginia for example). The CDP has done an outstanding job providing unique and diverse training options such as response to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction that are not available anywhere else. I spoke to their office in an attempt to see if they were considering developing any training programs of this type, and the response that I got was "as badly as this training is needed throughout the states we are at the present not considering developing any programs of this type, sorry".


The CDP would be a great unified facility to offer this training. The current training needs to be updated to fit the needs and/or threats that our responders are met with on a regular basis. We would like to see FEMA develop courses regarding active shooter situations and offer them in the near future.

Submitted by in Nov 2013

Comments (26)

  1. Pinned Moderator
    Thank you for submitting your ideas and comments. The Center for Domestic Preparedness is currently evaluating new curriculum to support the Nation's response community. While the primary mission of the CDP surrounds all hazards & threats, we are currently evaluating additional curricula tracks. As additional training is assessed please visit our training link at http://cdp.dhs.gov. Thank you for your interest in training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness.

    Open FEMA Team
    in Dec 2013
  2. How much training does it take to teach unarmed personnel (AKA targets) how to run and hide?
    in Nov 2013
    1. stone.donnie Idea Submitter
      Really? Maybe you can stand back and watch people die, but I choose to help. There are proven ways we can respond while taking a calculated risk and operate in the warm zone with force protection. The public demands a response, and with preparation, policies, equipment, and training, it can be done safely.
      in Nov 2013
  3. Active Shooter Training for Fire EMS Personnel is the subject not turning fire personnel into law enforcement or security personnel.The public demands a response and deserves a response from sworn law enforcement officials.
    in Nov 2013
    1. stone.donnie Idea Submitter
      I agree 100%. The problem is the number of available officers. These incidents are usually over in 90 seconds, and the time it would take additional officers to get there could be detrimental. Plus, they have an initial mission of stopping the threat. As other officers get on scene, it could be coordinated that they escort the medical personnel as a secondary team primarily to assess and treat victims.
      in Nov 2013
    2. I'm with you on this one MJ....Active Shooter I think is a misnomer...the need for ems personnel at a shooting is to care for the wounded/injured....but we don't need any John Waynes. The scenarios below [videos and examples] are after the fact situations. There is no real reason for an EMS to be "in the trenchs" as the bullets are flying...unless we as a country are preparing for war [???]. Putting EMS in harms way is not the thing to do. Once an area is secured they can be brought in to treat any casualties...otherwise, there are two options that I can easily think of...1] an Officer has to be with the EMS in the "zone" [which ties up a LE responder...or 2] the EMS needs to be "up-armored" and perhaps "armed"...."just in case". Which goes back to one of my earlier statements...."unless...we are preparing for a war"....
      in Feb 2014
  4. You miss the point, Donnie, the current policy in every jurisdiction that I know of is that Fire and EMS personnel absolutely do not enter an 'active shooter' or any similar situation until after the police have resolved the situation. They are all already well aware of that policy (whether they individually agree or not) and there is simply no way that some magic training is going to change the existing policy.
    in Nov 2013
    1. stone.donnie Idea Submitter
      The point that I'm trying to make is that there is more than one way to do things. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn't mean that it's right or even in the beat interest of all involved. You are completely closed off about the idea and know nothing about it or the literature that supports it.
      in Nov 2013
  5. Any conversation on this subject is good...even if you think that a tactic is a "bad" tactic that still may help in the formulation of a better strategy.
    in Nov 2013
  6. For the negative comments, be aware that FEMA's official guidance is now pushing for fire/ems entry into warm zones. See http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/active_shooter_guide.pdf

    Conditions and policies are changing across the country, some formalized training would be a good thing.
    in Dec 2013
  7. Some method of removing the injured mitigating fire a d aiding officers is needed. Fire and ems personnel are on many tactical teams currently. As long as properly equipped and possibly borrow from Pa. And do a fire police and cross train / familiarize with weapons
    in Dec 2013
  8. Yes this is new and it will take time for this to work out the kinks but at one time EMS, HazMat and USAR response was new. Look at these responses now and how far we have come. You have to start somewhere . We just completed a majority of out Fire/EMS response to active shooter training. We trained over 650 Law, Fire, and EMS together. Our program is based on the Rescue Task Force model. We developed four training packages one each for Law, Fire, Transport Provider and Dispatchers. We accomplished two goals with the training obviously one was medical care at an active shooter event but I think what was even more important was that we have improved coordination for the standard violent incident . If any agency would like a copy of our program materials we have set up a web site to share. I would be happy to provide access.
    in Dec 2013
    1. stone.donnie Idea Submitter
      Our program will be very similar to the Rescue Task Force model as well. Our instructors have been hand picked, and have various "real life" back grounds from the military to SWAT teams. Another benefit is that these instructors have already trained all of our police officers so there will be a common understanding across departmental lines due to similar training. I would like to see what you guys have put together. You may either message me, or provide some sort of contact information so I can follow up. Thanks for the comment.
      in Dec 2013
    2. We provide access by department. All I need is department name and a contact. my email is scott.quirarte@ventura.org
      in Dec 2013
  9. Moderator. Would you like access to our program material? As someone who has taken and instructed classes at CDP I would be happy to share.
    in Dec 2013
  10. jc
    Here is a link to an article on this very subject and it supports Stone.donnie position http://www.jems.com/article/news/communication-key-ems-response-active-sh

    Communication is key during these events. The NTOA is now supporting a different approach. The approach being increased medical training for police officers, see article here http://ntoa.org/site/current-news/ntoa-calls-for-increased-emergency-medical-training-for-police-officers.html

    Here is an article that discusses both approaches (Urban Shield 2010 event) -
    in Dec 2013
  11. jc
    This video is a great watch for those interested in the concept of civilian medics entering active shooter scenarios to work together with SWAT medics and police before the area has been cleared
    Urban Shield Training event
    in Jan 2014
  12. Good video thanks. Urban Shield is a great exercise. Here is a video from the very first drill conducted after our first pilot class. It was rough but gets better every time we do it. It will never be perfect but at least we have a foundation to create a rapid plan on scene.

    Remember the goal is not just be better at large active shooter events but to work better together at all violent incidents. You can’t develop a plan that only works on large events as the skills will be forgotten. You need one that works for the small and can ramp up when needed. This way you are using the skills on a more regular basis. Example, soon after training we had a shooting. Man shoots roommate in the house while roommate is talking to 911. Law arrives on scene enters house to stop further shooting and man shoots himself. Fire is called in and meets with Law. Although scene is probably secure only a primary search was completed and the gun moved away from the shooter. Law asked for only two firefighters to enter do quick treatment and evacuate patient. Law provided force protection while Fire provided rapid stop death (TECC) treatment and then evacuated patient to ambulance. Now although this was not an active shooter per say, the same tactics apply just on a smaller scale. By working together the rapid treatment was provided safely and the crime scene was preserved. The trauma doctor said the patient only survived because they made it to the ER and surgery so fast.
    in Jan 2014
    1. jc
      Good example. Thanks for sharing. The working together at different levels is key.
      in Jan 2014
  13. jc
    "Officials, Experts recommend immediate EMS care during Active Shooter Situations" - http://www.jems.com/print/29965
    in Jan 2014
  14. jc
    Seems like FEMA is taking your position Donnie by starting with the recommendation, see article here -

    These guys train for Active shooter scenarios, maybe they have a class EMS personnel - http://www.taconeconsulting.com/
    in Jan 2014
  15. stone.donnie Idea Submitter
    If you have access to the Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS) website through the Dept of Homeland Security, they have recently revamped their website to include a vast amount of Active Shooter information all in one place. Getting security access takes a while, but definitely worth the wait and hassle. I recommend checking it out... https://www.llis.dhs.gov/Home/.

    Also, Ventura County CA Fire Department has put together great training information too. The contact information for them is listed previously. Thanks Scott!
    in Feb 2014
  16. jc
    The LLIS is a great resource, I wish more responders were aware of the site and share their experiences their for all to learn from. Here is an article that I noticed today that is exactly related to what you wrote today
    in Feb 2014
  17. Unless we are in a war, I disagree with EMS personnel being sent into a hot zone with an active shooter. I see no reason to risk an EMS responder's life also. If they are injured, they become another victim unable to do their job and increasing the burden on their fellow rescuers.
    in Mar 2014
    1. stone.donnie Idea Submitter
      I completely agree that Fire/EMS should not be in the hot zone. Only police officers with weapons have any business in this area. This response model has Fire/EMS responders in the warm zone where there is very little threat and/or the threat has been mitigated. The idea of any scene being completely 100% safe is a false sense of security. It is a calculated risk, and we take risks every day.

      Keep in mind that this type of response won't be what is considered "best practice" for every agency or department. It is merely another option to consider to get immediate life saving treatment to those patients need it the most.
      in Mar 2014
  18. MY REACTION: Anyone could be anywhere or do anything if they are trained to be, and they have the capacity to execute the function...but this blurs pre-existing lines, and there are many groups to choose from and train at CDP. Hypothetically, a small percentage of Fire/EMS could potentially operate like domestic “Army Medics” near the frontline of a conflict, but there are many serious health and legal implications to consider. The hypothetical scenario where this is most critical may be at a Nuclear Reactor event. The shooter scenarios are another minor possibility with their own set of implications and financial considerations for equipment including (e.g. suppliers of flam retardant body armor). Realistically, the scenario you are considering involves the creation of HYBRID groups to coordinate and execute a variety of functions...e.g. Individuals who can save a life, fight a fire, and navigate dangerous Shooter threats all within the same “Battle-space.” Therefore the CDP program would be expansive. Many challenges to consider are listed within this Shooter Mitigation Thread here:
    As a standalone category, the School Shooter scenario, is enough to seriously extended training and expansion options to some additional groups…Who the groups will be is a mater of debate…here are the statistics:
    *************REMEMBER THIS RATIO**********************
    (139,204 Schools):(7,990 School Firearm + Explosive annual crimes):(? # of Security)
    2008 School Crime and safety survey:
    =>Number of all students committing Firearms or Explosive crimes: 7,990
    2012 Indicators of School Crime and Safety
    =>Contains a wide range of school crime statistics:
    2004 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS)
    =>contains a quick table visualization of numbers and major threats at schools:
    Other school crime Index of tables and charts:
    1. Go to FedScope and discover the small number of highly trained official protection professionals here: http://www.fedscope.opm.gov/ibmcognos/cgi-bin/cognosisapi.dll
    RESULT=> (NOT POSSIBLE) They are paid >$100,000 per year plus bonuses and many are overseas, therefore, we can’t afford them to sit in a school.
    2. The U.S. is estimated to have (17,000) private professional protection contract personnel (see Merks-In-America for details).
    RESULT=> (NOT POSSIBLE) They are mostly oversees and are paid >$100,000 per year plus bonuses, therefore, we can’t afford them to sit in a school.
    3. The U.S. estimated number of police (79,210) available at the local level, see Dept. of Labor and Stats: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes331012.htm
    RESULT=> There is not enough police to sit in (all schools) all day (139,204 : 79,210). Also, most departments have serious budget and staff shortages, so we probably could not use ANY of them to set-up camp all day within a single business or school.
    4. Army National Guard (~5,200 old census data)
    RESULT=> They couldn’t even cover the number of crimes committed each year (7,990crimes : 5,200guards)
    5. Cost Guard 2,828 protective occupations/personnel
    RESULT=> They couldn’t even cover the number of crimes each year (7,990crimes : 2,828guards)
    6. Pinkerton Services are definitely a possibility!
    RESULT=> (unknown- capabilities, stats, and costs) & …Unknown coverage- how will we spread them out to cover schools or businesses?
    7. SWAT and other high-level protective professional services are beyond the scope of this assessment, but will always be the lead for major Shooter scenarios.
    Training Fire/EMS personnel to (SUPPORT) SWAT and police in a shooter scenario is a must…e.g. especially if the shooter sets a fire, or a bomb goes off, or noxious chemicals are ignited, or there are mass casualties. Fire/EMS could be extended additional capabilities to act like Army Medics at the conflict-frontlines if they have that personal capacity. However, the alternative groups most suited to hybrid domestic scenarios is SWAT or ATF. Furthermore, introducing additional duties would potentially erode the core curriculum and training practices of the Fire Department or any group that undertakes the training since the content and practice would be extensive. Therefore, for practical purposes, the creation of a hybrid group is the best option, and I would speculate that the hybrid group option is best suited for SWAT or ATF. It would likely be a relationship between SWAT or ATF and CDP (with extended training in fire and life saving capabilities). Second in line for hybrid capabilities may be National Guard, and Fire/EMS somewhere after them. However, (like a Venn diagram), I would like to see some overlapping support training extended to Fire and Rescue as well! In concession, some Army Rangers may be honorably discharge and become Domestic Fire Fighters, in which case they would be well suited for a hybrid program…this may imply that a case-by-case-basis is the best way to recruit and train Hybrid program personnel at the CDP. The logistics and capabilities are well beyond the scope of this Idea creation process.
    Other Gun References:
    in Apr 2014

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