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Rapid Response: Santa Fe shooting a reminder of additional threats on scene

Officials have reported explosive devices have been found on and near the scene


A gunman opened fire at Sante Fe High School just outside of Houston, Texas

AP photo

What happened: Just prior to school opening for the day, Friday, May 18, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School just outside of Houston, Texas. At the time of this writing, the number of fatalities has not been confirmed, but the Harris County Sheriff has reported 8 to 10 fatalities, with the majority being students. There are an as yet unknown number of additional wounded.

The sheriff reported the gunman is in custody, and an additional person is being held as a person of interest.

Students reported a fire alarm was activated, and at some point soon after the fire alarm, gunshots were heard. Interviewed students said teachers and administrators provided valuable “run and keep-running” guidance.

EMS, fire and law enforcement assets from multiple agencies could be seen pouring into the scene, while hospitals ramped up to receive the injured.

Why it’s significant: Authorities have reported that explosive devices have been found in and around the high school, and responders are in the process of rendering the devices safe. Police have asked the public to “remain vigilant” and to call 911 if they see any suspicious items in the area.

Key takeaways from the active shooter incident in Santa Fe

1. Active shooter events are often not just active shooter events

Even after an active shooter is neutralized, there can be additional safety threats for responding EMS, fire and law enforcement personnel, as well as civilians on scene.

2. NFPA 3000 recent release is timely guidance for agencies

The newly released NFPA 3000, Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program, is a helpful primer for those needing assistance with active shooter protocols. NFPA 3000 is the only standard providing systemic guidance for EMS and fire departments to follow along with law enforcement and community components.

3. Limit social media updates during an active event

In the early hours of a mass casualty incident, rumors and misinformation spread rapidly. It’s important to limit the release of details on the event until they are confirmed by officials on scene.

What’s next: EMS and fire responders will continue to work with law enforcement to clear the scene and begin incident debriefing, before focusing on the mental health of the responders, processing the stress and impact from the incident.

We’ll continue to follow the story – in the meantime, we urge you to study and practice your active shooter and mass casualty procedures. Stay tuned to EMS1 for additional information on the response and story behind today’s horrible active shooter event at Sante Fe High School.

Chief Marc S. Bashoor joined the Lexipol team in 2018, serving as the FireRescue1 and Fire Chief executive editor and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board. With 40 years in emergency services, Chief Bashoor previously served as public safety director in Highlands County, Florida; as chief of the Prince George’s County (Maryland) Fire/EMS Department; and as emergency manager in Mineral County, West Virginia. Chief Bashoor assisted the NFPA with fire service missions in Brazil and China, and has presented at many industry conferences and trade shows. He has contributed to several industry publications. He is a National Pro-board certified Fire Officer IV, Fire Instructor III and Fire Instructor. Connect with Chief Bashoor at on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Do you have a leadership tip or incident you’d like to discuss? Send the chief an email.

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