Mass Shooting Incidents-Considerations for EMS-Fire-Private Safety-Part 2

De Faakto Intelligence Research Observatory

Part 2

Active and Mass Shooting Primer, Considerations for EMS, Fire Services & Private Safety Practitioners

Active Shooter Considerations for EMS, Fire Services & Private Safety Practitioners


Active shooter scenarios occur at an alarming rate. In 2017 there were 346 mass shootings in America. Mass shooting incidents have also occurred in Russia, Philippines, Yemen, France, Canada and Norway. Many EMS-Fire and Safety agencies are prepared for mass shooting scenarios. Gaps in training and education for serious shooting incidents do exist in some agencies. The purpose of this intelligence article is to provide a starting point for organizations that are not prepared. Considerations and recommendations for mass shootings are outlined to mitigate risk and improve responder safety.

Active and Mass Shooting Considerations

Planning & Coordination
• Organizational pre-planning with Law Enforcement agencies
• Coordinated integrated planning, response, treatment & care

Implementation of Hartford Consensus
• Early hemorrhage control to improve survival
• Use of the THREAT acronym

THREAT concepts are simple, basic and proven

• T – threat suppression
• H – Haemorrhage control
• RE – Rapid Extrication to safety
• A – Assessment by medical providers
• T – Transport to definitive care

• Life-threatening bleeding from extremity wounds are best controlled by use of tourniquets
• Internal bleeding resulting from penetrating wounds to the chest and trunk are best addressed through expedited transportation to a hospital setting (American College of Surgeons, 2013)

Hemorrhage control techniques
• Tourniquets
• Pressure dressings
• Haemostatic agents
• Triage and transport
• Recognition lethal internal hemorrhage torso trauma
• Definitive transport
• Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC)

• Explosives, IEDs & booby traps that sometimes accompany mass shootings
• Fire hazards from initial blast IEDs
• Secondary devices at main and secondary scenes
• Drone hazards-improvised explosive device and surveillance platforms

Protective gear for personnel exposed to risks
• Kevlar vests
• Kevlar helmets
• Trauma plates
• Fire resistant or burn away clothing for incendiary or explosive incidents
• Ballistic safety glasses
• High visibility or tactical uniforms

Recommendations for safe actions
• Deliberate and cautious approach to the scene
• Staging assets at a safe distance (usually out of line-of-sight)
• Consider turning off emergency lights and warning devices before arrival
• Frightened citizens may be fleeing-use caution
• If exposed to gunfire, explosions or threats, withdraw to a safe area
• Consider use of apparatus’ solid parts such as motor, pump, water tank and wheels as cover in the hot zone
• Understand the difference between cover (protection from direct fire) and concealment (protection from observation)
• Remove victims from the danger zone in a manner consistent with predetermined
agency training and standards of practice
• Select staging areas with hard cover and concealment
• Provide protective gear to personnel operating in indirect threat areas
• If bystanders become hostile extricate self
• Have a duress code known to first responders
• Uniform identification discernible at distance
• Police snipers may have trouble identifying personnel in hot zones
• Work in pairs of team at minimum
• Use of a spotter to observe, identify, avoid threats while team works
• Train and equip fire/rescue/EMS personnel to work with LE within areas that are clear but not secure (DHS, 2013)

Mental and physical health for responders
• Responders may know the aggressors and/or victims
• determine how to relieve these responders
• extra communications personnel should be allocated to receive, analyze and rebroadcast intelligence to team personnel (DHS, 2013)

Recommendations-Senior officer
Operational Practices En Route and On-scene Active Shooter-multiple casualty incident

• Obtain maximum information/intelligence en route
• Verify information as part of size up
• Determine threats to first responders & civilians
• Obtain information from fleeing personnel and casualties in triage
• Relay information to law enforcement
• If first on scene ensure allied resources en route
• Request more resources of appropriate scale
• Identify a safe staging area for inbound resources
• Establish command post
• Account for victims on scene
• Account for first responders-check in check out procedure
• Account for reunion areas
• Account for patients transported
• Protect personal information
• Protect information leaks to media
• Communicate all movement about incident especially if threat not contained
• Ensure enough trained incident command staff to manage incident
• Consider arrival of volunteer staff
• Consider Volunteer utilization or dismissal
• Consider that some volunteers may be armed (DHS, 2013)


• Capture staff recollections & document
• Obtain responder listings and tasks performed
• Account for equipment, pack supplies
• Complete records
• Release staff to duty or home post-incident briefings
• Stress management briefings, and family support information
• Establish and manage a formal unit-release
• Collect incident management records and unit logs
• Determine and announce an incident debriefing strategy
• Debrief team to prepare a report of the incident
• Stress debrief plan
• Assess need for ongoing incident command support
• Active shooter-multiple casualty incident review evaluation team
• Close down command post
• Assure appropriate stress debriefing and management resources for all personnel (DHS, 2013)




US Government-Dept. Homeland Security-US Fire Administration-Fire EMS Operational Considerations for Active Shooters & Mass Casualty Incidents (2013)

American College of Surgeons-Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons-Active Shooter and Intentional Mass Casualty Events: The Hartford Consensus II (2013)

Disclaimer-De Faakto Intelligence Research is provided to first responders for situational awareness, advice, guidance and educational purposes. Intelligence is perishable and fluid. Intelligence is updated and reassessed as new information becomes available. Sources are evidence based and multiple sources are used when possible. Sometimes intelligence assessments present gaps in information, this is a reality in intelligence led operations and gaps are filled when information presents. Emergency first responders should always follow best industry practices, organizational policy-procedures and regulatory standards.