Seated, left to right: John Montes, NFPA; Otto Drozd, Orange County (Florida) Fire Rescue; Craig Cooper, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue; and Richard Smith, Wakefield (Massachusetts) Police Department
Hundreds were in attendance this morning as four panelists discussed NFPA's groundbreaking new provisional standard, NFPA 3000™ (PS), Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program, during an education session at the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas. It was an eerie coincidence that less than eight months earlier, a shooter perched on the 32nd floor of the same building killed almost 60 people attending a concert on the ground below in what is America's deadliest mass shooting, but one that shows the urgent need for the new standard, which came out May 1.
Ten of the 15 deadliest mass shootings in modern United States history have occurred in the last 12 years, claiming the lives of over 250 people, according to multiple sources. "They're coming more often, and they're more deadly than previously," Orange County (Florida) Fire Chief and NFPA 3000 technical committee member Otto Drozd told session attendees. Drozd, whose department responded to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016, submitted the request for NFPA to develop a standard addressing active shooter events a few months after the Pulse shooting. "[NFPA 3000] is designed to unify communities so when one of these events happens we can mitigate it to the greatest extent possible and expedite recovery in our communities," he said. "We built it as an umbrella, an umbrella that everybody can stand under comfortably, whether you're a large community or a small community."
The importance of NFPA 3000 being an inclusive document that brings communities of all sizes and public safety professionals from all fields together was emphasized by all of the panelists. "It's important that we're all operating on the same principles, the same guidelines, and going on the same book," said Wakefield (Massachusetts) Police Chief and NFPA 3000 technical committee member Richard Smith. Craig Cooper of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, also an NFPA 3000 technical committee member, explained to session attendees how practicing and ultimately executing an integrated response between fire and EMS and law enforcement helped saved lives in the October 1, 2017, Mandalay Bay shooting. Although some fire and EMS professionals from his department had voiced concerns over operating in a situation like that, he said they rose to the challenge during the incident and showed no hesitation to enter warm and even what were believed to be possible hot zones. (Hot, warm, and cold are used to describe the danger level in descending order in a given area during these events.)