Preparedness & Recovery

Document Outlines Whole Community Approach to Active Shooter Events

NFPA 3000 brings together all responders for a unified response to active shooters.

by Jim McKay / May 4, 2018
A police officer stands guard at a road block near the scene of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub early Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. AP/David Goldman

The FBI says there were 220 active shooter events from 2000 to 2016, including the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., in which 49 people were killed.

After that event, Orange County, Fla., Fire Chief Otto Drozd, recognizing the role all first responders have in these scenarios, asked the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to develop some standards for a “Whole Community” response to active shooters.

The NFPA responded with NFPA 3000, a 48-page document that resulted from a culmination of expert analysis and best practices by personnel from fire, local police, the FBI, DHS and the medical community. The main thrust of the document is to convey how first responder communities

an plan for and respond to active shooter events in unison.
 “When you look at it, the purpose is how to get first responders to sit down and create a plan ahead of time about responding to these incidents that can be applied during response but also can then include the Whole Community approach, which is really a critical piece during the recovery,” said Jim Pauley, NFPA president.

Pauley said it’s not a book of tactics but a guide to using the Whole Community approach to planning for the event beforehand. “It’s not about tactics, it’s really about lining out for you, the necessity to create a plan, a risk assessment around where such an event might take place and create a plan around the resources you would need and train those resources together,” he said.

One of the keys in the document is to have a unified command structure — one command structure for fire, law enforcement and EMS. And that has be developed during training, although the document doesn’t define exactly how each jurisdiction should train, it’s up to each jurisdiction to do assessments of their needs and create plans that suit them.

“It really gets into the key elements of training together so that when you decide on your response plan, you can train everybody on that plan,” Pauley said. “It’s not so much about a kind of training but making sure that you’re learning to plan, that you’ve outlined what makes the most sense for your jurisdiction.”

The planning is a big part of the document, but it gets into the recovery phase also, with best practices on how to approach the families of victims and how to get the community involved in the recovery process.

“It’s in a classic standard format but really arranged around creating your organizational statements around a response plan, telling you what the elements of your plan need to include,” Pauley said. “If you think in terms of bringing together some of the best minds in this area, it’s a culmination of what people have learned are the most important and best practices to approach these events.”