Page 98 - Security Today, September/October 2021
P. 98

"A comprehensive plan should be designed to ensure all parties are equipped to respond to the incident in real-time."
By Robert Watson
Crisis Management Technology
Better preparation for emergency managers for active shooter incidents
Active Shooter
In recent years, the United States has witnessed a surge of active shooter incidents, which have put emergency preparedness into the spotlight for “when,” not “if ” the next tragedy occurs. Unfortunately, mass shootings have become a part of our daily lives - as gun violence is responsible for the loss of 38,000 lives per year, designating it the leading cause of premature death in the United States.
The United States alone has seen at least 147 mass shootings in the first few months of 2021, so far a 73% increase from years past, a trend that does not seem to be in decline. And as most active shooter events end in five minutes or less, emergency managers must be pre- pared to collaborate with first responders to activate life-saving response protocols and procedures to respond to the crisis and its aftermath in real-time, without warning.
The question then becomes, “How do emergency managers pre- pare for a mass casualty incident (MCI) that happens without warn- ing?” While a community will never be able to prevent tragic inci- dents like mass shootings from happening, an emergency manager can put an active shooter plan into place that focuses on mitigation, response and recovery. A designed comprehensive plan will ensure all parties are equipped to respond to the incident in real-time.
When deploying the steps outlined in a community’s active shooter preparedness strategy, having the right technology gives the emergency managers, community crisis teams, and first responders a flexible, con- nected incident command system solution. First responders and hos- pitals need to have an efficient real-time information flow with emer- gency managers to deploy life-saving techniques and personnel to save as many people as possible during an active shooter incident.
How can Technology Help Emergency Managers during an Active
Shooter Situation?
Emergency managers must incorporate robust technology platforms into their emergency response and preparedness strategies to notify all stakeholders, minimize the potential for false or inaccurate notifi- cations, and track the flow of information to ensure the parties involved are receiving it.
An effective platform also enables emergency managers to share critical information and updates with state and local agencies during an MCI event. This allows first responders and healthcare staff to focus on saving lives rather than going back and forth on the phone attempting to communicate the severity of the situation.
Responding to an Active Shooter, for Emergency Managers
Preparation is Key
Active shooter incidents have become commonplace within numerous settings where groups of people gather – on college and high school campuses, in office buildings, movie theatres, churches, hospitals and retail stores and during community events. Assailants usually select
target-rich locations and often carefully plan attacks weeks in advance. There is no predictability as to when, where and how these MCI events occur; only those victims are blindsided; and emergency managers are thrown into chaotic, and often life-threatening environments. The impor-
tance of preparation and response time cannot be stressed enough.
In a report detailing the best methods to respond to active shoot- ers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) describes a few key components, which can be helpful to emergency managers when
Daniel M. Barnett/

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