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PHOTO: San Bernardino County Sun
It happened again. Sadly, it will continue to happen. If there’s one thing that is becoming abundantly clear, our world is changing. And so, too, are the ways that building owners, facility managers and first responders must prepare to keep communities safe.
On Wednesday, December 2 as people throughout the nation – and in particular in a conference room in San Bernardino, California – got into the holiday spirit, another tragic active shooter incident unfolded and once again rattled our peace of mind. As the circumstances that led up to this recent mass execution emerge, the carnage and chaos are abundantly clear – and sadly familiar. Initial reports indicate that 14 people were killed and 17 others were injured in the San Bernardino massacre. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the US since Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.
Three weeks ago we sat in disbelief when 130 men, women and children were killed by terrorists in Paris as they enjoyed Friday evening activities in the City of Lights. Two weeks later, and nearly 5,000 miles away from the capital of France, yet another deranged gunman entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three people and wounding nine others with a semiautomatic rifle.
What is happening to our world?
Whether we label it extremist behavior, terrorism, school violence, workplace vendetta or fame-seeking, the FBI notes in their 2014 Crime in the United States study that even as violent crimes fell slightly, the number of deaths attributed to mass shootings has been increasing. So how do we protect ourselves? How do we guard our loved ones or our cherished institutions? How do our first responders prepare for the unknown, the unfathomable - the worst of the worst?
[NFPA | http://www.nfpa.org/] and ASIS International are continuing the discussion concerning active shooter events that started last year. Once again key stakeholders will gather in January to discuss and analyze effective management strategies, building design and technology methods that can help mitigate the likelihood and consequences of mass shooting events. Given the unpredictable nature and quick evolution of these tragedies, NFPA and ASIS recognize the need to collectively address the discipline intersections of security, safety and fire safety management to maximize protection of human and physical assets
The January think-tank will bring together standards developers, industry groups, law enforcement, government and academia to explore the administrative, management, and technology issues related to active shooter incidents. These considerations and similar prevention and response challenges were the topic of a December 2014 NFPA Workshop attended by a cross section of influencers. Download the proceedings of the workshop. Although focused on the educational environment, the principles identified in the report are scalable to all occupancies.