This is the second blog in a three-part series. Read the first blog here.
NFPA 3000™ (PS), Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program, is based on four main principles: unified command, integrated response, whole community, and planned recovery. Each of these will be discussed as part of my upcoming NFPA Journal feature article on this important new provisional standard.
Challenges in establishing unified command during the response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016 contributed in a significant way to the standard being developed. Below is an excerpt from my piece, which will appear in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal.
In the early hours of June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen opened fire with a rifle inside Pulse, a crowded nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine people were killed in the incident, and Mateen became, for a time, the nation’s deadliest mass shooter.
As the event unfolded, first responders converged outside the building. Although they had trained together for incidents like this, command and communications at the scene broke down. It was like a game of telephone, Otto Drozd, chief of Orange County Fire Rescue in Florida, told me in an interview last year. Rather than a single unified command post, there was a police officer at the fire command post who communicated over the radio to a dispatcher who communicated to the police command post. …
Despite their training, many aspects of the incident surprised Drozd’s department and the Orlando police and fire departments. Not only was communication difficult, but the logistics of working with the many outside agencies that came to Orlando in the aftermath, including the FBI, also presented challenges. The experience prompted Drozd, in October, 2016, to officially submit a request for NFPA to develop a standard on preparedness and response to active shooter and hostile events.
Watch for the final part of this blog series, which comes out Monday and will include a link to the complete article.