Codes and standards
NFPA Impact: November 2018
By Shayne Mintz
Many of us assume Canada is a peaceful, law-abiding nation free from violence and hostile events that seem to plague many others around the globe.
By Shayne Mintz
I know that’s what I thought until recently where, in the wake of several tragic multi-fatal shootings and hostile events, it caused me to look more closely into the Canadian experience with regard to mass casualty incidents.
Did you know that since 1967 there have been approximately 215 people killed in almost 40 hostile events, and since December of 2011, 58 people have been killed in 12 multiple death events over that time?
What’s more disconcerting is the growth and frequency with which these events have been occurring. Since April 2014, 47 people have been murdered in nine of those events.
While the numbers aren’t as dramatic as in other countries, it still begs the question of: How prepared is our collective first-responder community to help themselves and the public in dealing with mass shootings and/or hostile events?
During active shooter or hostile events, time is of the essence and the number of variables, personnel and logistics quickly escalates and, if first responders and other agencies are not working together, they can be quickly overwhelmed and valuable time can be lost and possibly additional life. Preparing for and responding to these events must be in an integrated and well-rehearsed approach.
I believe there are many in the responder community who understand the need for planning and preparation for these types of events and have been thinking about undertaking such an exercise, but don’t know how to go about the process and/or deciding who should be involved and how to get them to the table.
This past May, NFPA released NFPA 3000 – Standard for an Active Shooter and Hostile Events Response, or ASHER for short. This standard is the world’s first active shooter/hostile event standard targeting whole community planning, response and recovery. This standard is not fire-centric and was developed with insight and participation from the entire responder community, including law enforcement, fire, EMS, medical providers, facility managers, private industry, and other federal law enforcement resources.
The standard was developed to help communities deal with the fast-growing number of mass casualty incidents that continue to occur throughout the world. Serving as the first of its kind, NFPA 3000 provides a holistic approach to unified command, planning, response and recovery guidance, as well as civilian and responder safety considerations.
Some have asked why NFPA would be the organization to develop such a standard. Well, since its inception, the NFPA has been a go-to organization for facilitating a respected consensus-based process that has produced some of the most widely-used codes and standards in the world, including more than 100 that impact first responders.
Following some recent major active shooter/hostile events, the first responder community sought out the NFPA to develop a standard to help authorities come together and create a well-defined, cohesive plan that works to minimize harm and maximize resiliency.
NFPA’s purview goes far beyond just fire-safety efforts to address new hazards with professionals in public safety, emergency management, community risk, engineering, chemical and other industries, healthcare, manufacturing, research, government and the built environment.
NFPA 3000 helps entire communities organize, manage, communicate and sustain an active shooter/hostile event preparedness, response and recovery program. In addition to the standard, NFPA is offering an online training series that consists of three courses – a downloadable checklist; a readiness assessment document; and a fact sheet for authorities to learn more about establishing a proactive, collaborative active shooter/hostile event program.
Whether it’s a city manager, a facility or building manager, police, fire, EMS first responders, a local hospital, concerned parent, school principal, or an emergency room doctor, each has a role to play in implementing this new standard.
The premise is that all community stakeholders will come together and plan, respond and recover together.
For more information about NFPA 3000 go to www.nfpa.org/nfpa3000, and if you would like a presentation on the standard and its contents please feel free to get in touch with me at Canada@nfpa.org or 705 812-2924.
Shayne Mintz has more than 35 years of experience in the fire service, having completed his career as chief of the Burlington Fire Department in Ontario. He is now the Canadian regional director for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Contact Shayne at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @ShayneMintz.