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Home > Topics > EMS Training
October 02, 2012
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Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

2 types of training for active-shooter incidents

Just like your department regularly trains for mass-casualty incidents on the freeway, it should also train for active-shooter/mass fatality incidents

By Greg Friese

It seems that at least once a month, an active-shooter incident leading to mass fatalities dominates the national news cycle for 24-48 hours. I don't believe any community is immune from one of these incidents. And just like your department regularly trains for a mass-casualty incident on the freeway, it should also train for the active-shooter/mass fatality incident.

But unlike incidents that only have an EMS response component, there are two types of training to complete:

1. Train to respond to an active-shooter incident. Ensure your organization has a collaborative protocol in place with local law enforcement for this kind of response. Regularly review the protocol through lectures, review of incidents from other communities and functional or full-scale drills. Set exercises in possible locations such as a school, church, hospital or other mass-gathering location.

2. Train to survive an active-shooter incident. Prepare for the possibility that an EMS station or headquarters building could be the location of an active-shooter incident. Disgruntled and deranged employees, customers or spouses could target victims in any type of business or organization.

Your organization should regularly (at least annually) review policies related to building security, visitor access and identification and all-hazards building evacuation routes and procedures.

In a staff meeting use a simple group discussion of "what if""

  • What if the fire alarm sounded?
  • What if a visitor is banging on the door demanding access?
  • What if a shooter is seen in the parking lot with a weapon?

This video teaches three principles: Run, hide, fight.

If you hear gunshots or see a shooter, run. Use principles of concealment and cover as you move toward an area of less danger.

If you are unable to run, hide and barricade yourself from the shooter.

If all else fails, attempt to fight and disarm the shooter with any real or improvised weapons available to you. The most opportune time to fight might be as the shooter reloads or switches weapons.

As the video states, "Your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan."

What is your department's plan for an active shooter incident?

About the author

Greg Friese is the Director of Education for CentreLearn Solutions, LLC. He is also an e-learning designer, writer, podcaster, presenter, paramedic, and marathon runner. Read more from him at the EverydayEMSTips.com blog. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at greg.friese@ems1.com.
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