Nearly 76% fire departments do not have active-shooter policies or training programs in place, according to the responses to an survey. The association is asking members to submit their policies, practices and success stories on preparing and responding to active-shooter events via an online survey on the IAFC KnowledgeNet library.
“We are trying to collect [information] specifically related to active-shooter protocols,” said Ann Davison, the IAFC’s strategic information officer.
The IAFC is seeking model practices from the fire service and their municipalities that may help support the development of safe and effective national-level policy.
The association is building a database of standard operating procedures based on submissions and responses to the online survey. Davison said the feel from respondents thus far is that many U.S. fire departments are looking for guidance on the issue. As a result, the IAFC hopes data gained from the survey will provide peer-to-peer resources for local fire departments developing active-shooter response protocols.
“I don’t think there is a real handle on the national scope,” Davison said. “So we are trying to get together model SOPs and share it with the fire service.”
Data about fire departments’ relationships with building code and enforcement officials also are being collected. Davison said due to recent active-shooter events, several U.S. jurisdictions are making security changes to buildings without double checking fire codes and safety protocols, such as blocking a door or exit at a school to prevent someone from getting in.
“They think it may be more secure, but they are not involving the fire department,” she said. “So the fire department finds later changes don’t adhere to codes. So we are focusing working with other agencies to develop training and SOPs.”
Active shooter events continue to occur, so the fire service must develop best practices to prepare for and respond to active-shooter incidents alongside emergency response and law-enforcement agencies, Davison said.
“There’s a gap there we are trying to fill, particularly when working with law enforcement—that’s what we need to focus in on is the relationships with other agencies such as law enforcement and emergency management,” she added.