Terrorism Still a Threat Part II
The ink had hardly dried on the last column, “Terrorism, Still a Threat” when it stuck its’ deadly face into the San Bernardino, California community on Wednesday, December 2. Two terrorists, acting in a matter of minutes, killed 14 people and injured another 20 gathered in a conference room for training and a holiday party.
Later the same day, the 2 terrorists, after engaging police in a vehicle chase and shootout, were shot and killed by police. Were these the only terrorist in our country, or are there more? The answer is quite simple, there are more. Both homegrown and imported, operating alone or with others, determined to force us to capitulate to their ideals. So far they have failed therefore they continue sporadic attacks across the country, requiring all Americans to remain ever vigilant. “If you see something, say something”. For those in fire and EMS you must maintain your training and coordination with local law enforcement agencies in our communities to stay updated as to incidents involving Active Shooters. Active shooters may be terrorists or just crazed individuals bent on killing for one reason or another. In the end there may be any number of dead and wounded individuals, with the wounded in need of immediate medical assistance.
Since the Columbine shooting in 1999 law enforcement agencies have changed their response strategy and tactics relative to active shooters, and they continue to do so today. A major change that took place is that there is almost an immediate response and entry into the building where there is an active shooter. The police no longer stage and await SWAT Teams. First arriving police officers have been trained and are expected to make immediate entry in an effort to neutralize any suspects. In doing so, this will enable faster medical response for injured individuals. There is no doubt that, in doing so; police officers place themselves in extreme danger in order to reduce the loss of life.
Many Americans, including some emergency service personnel, feel they live in small communities that could not and would not ever be a target for terrorist activity, only big cities would be targets. Not so, terrorist activities can occur in any size community and any location, urban or rural. Terrorism causes fear, and fear spreads across the nation no matter the size of the community the event occurred in, therefore all emergency responders must be prepared to safely respond and to act.
In light of the San Bernardino shooting the Department of Homeland Security has posted on its web site information and links that provide valuable information for First Responders and keeping them safe. I encourage you to review, study, and pass on the information to fellow first responders.
The following is excerpted from that page:
“DHS Resources Available for Active Shooter Preparedness and Response Efforts; Materials to Help Raise Awareness and Strengthen First Response Efforts
With the chilling rise in public mass shootings – exemplified by the devastating incidents in San Bernardino and Paris – the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other government agencies have released a broad range of resources to help first responders enhance active shooter preparedness and response efforts.
The materials, which include videos, webinars, free online courses and literature, are available through the Active Shooter Preparedness Web Page, Active Shooter and Complex Attacks Resource and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Active Shooter website. Mission Manager users are encouraged to upload pertinent materials into their document libraries for team readiness or community outreach/PR efforts (see links below).
The San Bernardino incident occurred shortly after the horrific Paris attacks in which multiple casualty events occurred simultaneously. Complex attacks such as the Paris massacre require a pre-planned, integrated response among multiple agencies, including enforcement, fire and rescue personnel, and EMS across multiple jurisdictions.
To help prepare first responders for complex, simultaneous attacks here in the U.S., the DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHS) released its Active Shooter and Complex Attacks Resource” (PDF, 236 Kb). The document was also distributed to emergency management personnel via the Dec. 3 issue of the EMR-ISAC newsletter.
Additionally, the DHS also launched the Active Shooter Preparedness Web Page to help prepare first responders and the “whole community” for active shooter situations.”
The link to the web page is:
Till next time, Stay Safe and God Bless!