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NFPA releases the world’s first active shooter/hostile event standard with guidance on whole community planning, response, and recovery
Timely, critical document was developed with insight from law enforcement, fire, EMS, medical providers, facility managers, private industry, DHS, the CIA, FBI and others
May 1, 2018 – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released NFPA 3000TM (PS), Standard for an Active Shooter / Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program to help communities holistically 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 unified planning, response and recovery guidance, as well as civilian and responder safety considerations.
“The NFPA 3000 process, from start to finish, has been an exceptional example of emergency responders and other safety-focused practitioners swiftly coming together to provide invaluable perspective and address a significant threat in our world,” NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley said. “The proactive, integrated strategies recommended and defined in NFPA 3000 will go a long way in helping communities plan, respond and recover from active shooter and hostile events.”
This marks only the second time in NFPA’s 122-year history that they have issued a provisional standard. Provisional standards are developed in an expedited process to address an emergency situation or other special circumstance.
After the Pulse Nightclub massacre in June of 2016, Chief Otto Drozd of Orange County Fire in Florida requested that NFPA develop a standard to help authorities come together and create a well-defined, cohesive plan that works to minimize harm and maximize resiliency. NFPA responded by establishing the NFPA Technical Committee on Cross Functional Emergency Preparedness and Response. In mid-April, NFPA 3000 was issued by the NFPA Standards Council, making it the first consensus document related to active shooter and hostile events.
The 46-member Technical Committee responsible for NFPA 3000 is NFPA’s largest startup Committee, to date, with representation from law enforcement, the fire service, emergency medical services, hospitals, emergency management, private security, private business, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice, and many more. Committee members provided job-specific insight and real world observations from mass killings at Mandalay Bay Resort, Pulse Nightclub, Sandy Hook Elementary, the Sikh Temple, the Boston Marathon, and other less publicized events.
NFPA 3000 helps entire communities organize, manage, communicate, and sustain an active shooter/hostile event preparedness, response, and recovery program. In addition to offering NFPA 3000 via a new digital subscription – which will be updated automatically when the next edition becomes available – NFPA is offering an Online Training Series (the first of three courses are available now); a downloadable checklist; a readiness assessment document; and fact sheet for authorities to learn more about establishing a proactive, collaborative active shooter/hostile event program.
Some have asked why NFPA would be the organization to develop an active shooter standard. “For more than a century, NFPA has facilitated a respected consensus process that has produced some of the most widely used codes and standards in the world including more than 100 that impact first responders. Our purview goes far beyond our fire safety efforts as evidenced by our ongoing work to address new hazards with professionals in public safety, emergency management, community risk, electrical services, the energy sector, engineering, the chemical and industrial industries, healthcare, manufacturing, research, the government, and the built environment. The recent increase in active shooter incidents and the fire service involvement in them warranted NFPA’s standards development expertise, and the timely development of NFPA 3000,” Pauley said.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
Responding to Fentanyl Incidents:
First Responder Safety Considerations
Article provided by Lexipol- Strategic Partner of IAFC-SW Division
Written by Sean W. Stumbaugh, Battalion Chief (Retired)
The use of mind-altering substances by humans is nothing new. Since the first person left a bowl of grain out in the rain, and then the sun and wild yeast did their thing, humans have had access to beer. Additional intoxicating substances followed through different methods of discovery. How people figured out that the milky substance contained in the un-ripened seed pod of the poppy flower is a powerful drug is beyond me. This drug is opium.
Opium use in America is also nothing new. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a substance called laudanum was very popular. This product was a mixture of 10 percent opium and alcohol. Laudanum was available as an over-the-counter drug. It was basically the aspirin of its time and was recommended for pain relief for many common ailments and for serious diseases such as tuberculosis. The problem with laudanum is that it is highly addictive due to the opium content. As more and more people began to develop addictions, doctors began to discourage its use; government regulations restricting access to opioids soon followed.
Today, opium comes in many natural and synthetic forms. Modern pharmaceutical companies have created synthetic opioids (e.g., fentanyl, Dilaudid, Norco), which are much more powerful than their natural cousin. These medications were created to reduce pain and suffering for patients after injury or surgery and for those living with chronic pain. The problem is that humans tend to abuse these medications and can become addicted; take away the prescribed medications and some addicts will turn to street drugs out of desperation. Four in five new heroin users start out misusing prescription painkillers. Opioid abuse in the U.S. has become epidemic and many people are dying as a result.
I’m not going to get into the current debate on how fentanyl and related substances arrive on our streets; I am more concerned with their impact on first responders. We have seen numerous reports in the past several weeks of police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel being exposed to highly toxic opioids. These exposures have come through casual contact such as searching a car for drugs, brushing off a small amount of white powder (following a search in which the officer had used gloves and mask), touching a patient with a synthetic opioid on their person, or inhaling a drug after it was aerosolized from a flash/bang device. These recent events lead me to believe it might be time for a training refresher.
Risk from the Patient and the Material
A patient overdosing on opioids presents inherent risks to first responders. These drugs cause respiratory depression and we often find patients who aren’t breathing. Our first treatment options are to provide ventilation for the patient and administer Narcan (naloxone) if it is available. Naloxone will reverse the effects of the drug. Sometimes, when the patient becomes conscious, they are very agitated and can become violent. Also, they may have residue or greater amounts of the drug on their person. We need to be aware of these hazards and take appropriate precautions.
Hazardous Materials Refresher
First responders need to start approaching these incidents with a hazardous materials (hazmat) response mindset. I know it’s not practical for all responders to show up in Level A suits; that’s not what I’m talking about. We are taught from the beginning of our careers that hazmat calls are uniquely dangerous. Our first responsibility in these situations is to isolate the area and deny further entry of responders or civilians.
Many of the recent events where police officers and firefighters have been exposed to and become ill from fentanyl and other opiates have occurred through patient contact or contact with the drug by touching a contaminated object. If this happened at a hazmat call we would all say a policy or procedure had been violated. I’m not blaming the victim here but I am asking us to rethink our approach. We need to re-evaluate our mindset about responding to calls involving illicit drugs. We might need to start viewing them as hazmat calls.
Hazmat is defined as “A material or substance that poses a danger to life, property, or the environment if improperly stored, shipped or handled.” Based on the evidence I believe opioids fit this definition.
Routes of Exposure
There are four routes of exposure for a hazmat:
- Absorption (through your skin)
- Inhalation (through your lungs)
- Ingestion (though your mouth)
- Injection (by an object like a needle or through force such as liquid under pressure)
All four of these exposure routes are in play when it comes to illicit drugs. It is easy to understand that if you touched a drug with your finger, and then stuck your finger in your mouth, you would suffer an exposure to the drug. Or, if you were stuck by a hypodermic needle that was contaminated, you could be exposed to the drug. What about inhalation? Well, users often snort these materials through a straw, so exposure from breathing in the powder makes sense.
The most surprising exposure route, as noted by recent exposures to fentanyl, is absorption. The fact that just touching the material, or accidentally getting it on your skin, can cause you to become ill or intoxicated, and even overdose, is what is shocking to me. We need to take this issue seriously and protect ourselves from all routes of exposure.
How can we protect ourselves in a practical way when we encounter overdose calls daily? We need to have a “me first” attitude and use good decision-making, proper procedures and personal protective equipment (PPE).
I joined the fire service in the early 1980s—a time of discovery for bloodborne pathogens. As we encountered new communicable diseases, we realized we were potentially exposed when treating patients. We began training on and using the concepts of Universal Precautions.
Universal Precautions basically means “treat all blood and body fluids as if they were infectious.” We protected our hands with medical exam gloves, our eyes with protective eyewear, and our mouths and noses with medical masks. We didn’t wear masks for every call but we did use them when performing invasive procedures (e.g., intubating a patient’s airway). Many paramedics learned to wear a mask the hard way: by experiencing exposure to blood and other bodily fluids when performing these tasks.
We need to consider approaching drug overdoses, and drug investigations, with these principles in mind. What does this look like?
- If you suspect opioid use, ask safety-related questions about what substances may be present.
- Use hand protection (minimum and mandatory) at all potential overdose/drug investigation calls. To be sure you’re getting the maximum protection, use nitrile gloves rather than latex. One coroner’s office has indicated that latex gloves may allow absorption of synthetic opioids into the wearer’s skin.
- When encountering unknown substances, consider the use of N-95 masks, eye protection and paper covers for clothes and shoes.
- Handle patients and objects as if they were contaminated.
- Avoid (better yet, prohibit) cross-contamination. Only touch items with protected hands. Following the call, don’t touch anything until you have followed proper decontamination procedures
- If applicable under your EMS protocols, carry and be prepared to administer naloxone to patients and first responders who may become exposed.
If these steps sound burdensome, consider that they are common practices in settings such as dental offices.
For more guidance, access “Fentanyl: A Briefing Guide for First Responders,” recently released by the DEA.
Protect Yourself So You Can Protect Them
When we encounter new hazards in the workplace we need to evaluate the risk and develop new engineering and work practice controls to protect ourselves and our employees. The new threat of very powerful synthetic opioids, and the severe harm they cause, must be addressed in this manner. It’s difficult and maybe even impractical to avoid these hazards altogether; however, we need to try. If we can approach opioid overdose calls with a hazardous materials mindset, practice Universal Precautions, and slow down when there is discretionary time, we can reduce the risks and hopefully avoid any further injury.
It’s really about doing our jobs well, serving those we swore to protect—but still going home healthy at the end of the shift. Take care of yourselves and each other out there!
Sean Stumbaugh is a management services representative for Lexipol. He retired in 2015 after 32 years in the American fire service, serving as battalion chief for the Cosumnes Fire Department in Elk Grove, Calif., as well as the El Dorado Hills (Calif.) Fire Department and the Freedom (Calif.) Fire District. Sean has a master’s degree in Leadership and Disaster Preparedness from Grand Canyon University, a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University, and an associate degree from Cabrillo College in Fire Protection Technology. In addition to his formal education, he is a Certified Fire Officer, Chief Officer, and Instructor III in the California State Fire Training certification program. Sean has taught numerous state fire training courses and has been an adjunct professor with Cosumnes River College in Sacramento. Sean is now continuing his career by serving as the volunteer Para-Chaplain for the Daisy Mountain Fire District in New River, AZ.
Lexipol’s Fire Policy Manual and Daily Training Bulletin Service provides essential policies to enhance the safety of firefighters in all areas of department operations, including emergency medical services. Contact us today to find out more.
This article is provided by Lexipol
By Sean W. Stumbaugh, Battalion Chief (Retired)
When I was a supervisor in the fire department, my crews had a nickname for me: The Red Man. I embraced the moniker to some degree and I would joke with them, “Don’t make me take out the Red Man.” This was a term of endearment (at least that’s what I liked to believe) in many cases, but I knew it was born from numerous times that I led with anger. In hindsight this is not a great way to lead.
So, what was really going on here? I hadn’t been brought up in some military academy where I learned to be a drill sergeant when things didn’t go my way. Was there something else at work? Something I couldn’t really put my finger on? After retirement, I realized some of this behavior was born out of stress I was feeling, at work and at home.
I was confident retirement would fix this issue and my life would be a breeze. I soon found out that retirement was something I wasn’t fully prepared for. I went through a two-year transition that was more difficult than being at work. Fortunately, I had some support mechanisms that helped see me through
This experience made me want to know more about the stress we face as firefighters. So I reached out to an expert in the field, Jeff Dill, founder and CEO of Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA). In this article, I’ll share some insights Jeff opened my eyes to, with the hopes that they might be eyeopening for you, too. And in my next article, I’ll share three steps all fire service professionals can take to combat the negative effects of work-related stress.
1,100 and Counting One of my goals when I was a training chief was to design training programs that reduced the risk of line-of-duty deaths (LODDs) by targeting the root causes of LODDs. We commonly use the number 100 to explain how many of us die on the job each year. This number is an average, and the actual figure fluctuates, but unfortunately the deviation is small.
Jeff Dill stresses an entirely different number: 1,102—the number of confirmed firefighter and EMS suicides he has validated since he began studying the issue. “These are not merely numbers, they are the names and faces of brothers and sisters who have left us behind,” Jeff says. “That’s always been our message at the FBHA. We never want to forget them.” Jeff now dedicates his professional life to helping reduce this growing number.
Call It By Name So, what is it we are struggling with? We can—and should—call it Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) or PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We’re hardly alone in being at risk for PTS; military personnel, police officers and other first responders face it too—not to mention anyone who experiences a traumatic experience, such as being assaulted or witnessing death or abuse.
SW Division President Tom Bradley along with members of the executive committee have met to discuss the current needs in Texas and Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Harvey. President Bradley commented with Texas and Louisiana located in the heart of our division, we feel it’s critical that we offer this local assistance. Executive Director Moatts has been in touch with vendors and suppliers who are also willing to help the division and leaders of the area as soon as more information is gathered. “We don’t want to be a nuisance, we just want them to know we are here if and when needed” – Chief Tom Bradley.
Moatts has been in touch with division president-elect Randy Parr, fire chief of Tomball Texas. Chief Parr is dealing with flooding in his town. Tomball is located just 30 miles north of downtown Houston. Chief Parr stated that his unmet needs are “help with evacuation and care of the people.”
The leadership of the Division is conducting a needs assessment with area leaders. Currently operations are still in rescue phase however, the recovery phase will bring additional challenges and needs at that time as well.
Moatts also reached out to Louisiana vice president Robert Benoit, fire chief of Lafayette Fire Department to offer assistance as they prepare for the potential of flooding from tropical storm Harvey.
Fire Chief James LeBlanc of St. Amant Volunteer Fire Department in Ascension Parish announced that Lamar-Dixon Conference Center is being used as a donation collection site for the Harvey relief effort. Chief LeBlanc reflected on the tragedy that struck his community last year. “A year ago this week the Texas people showed up in Louisiana with supplies that we needed, so we want to return the favor to them, ” as quoted to WAFB9.
More information of the relief efforts will be available in our electronic newsletter or visit http://swdnewsletter.wordpress.com
A real valid issue is being raised in our fire departments among our front line first responders..carrying concealed weapons. Depending on where you live, this is a protected right under the current laws. But, this law can create a whirlwind of liability for on-duty or off-duty public servants. Whether we agree or disagree with CCW, we must be proactive in these discussions and in developing policies to protect our teams, our departments and our citizens.
Taking the Heat
by Steven “Doc” Bernard
You arrive to a reported structure fire and it is fully involved. Fire is through the roof. The first thing you do is send all available personnel into the fire on interior attack mode……… No? Why not? Is there some written guide or training on how it is to be done? Of course there is. We size up the scene. We follow guidelines our department has adopted. We follow our training. That’s how we do things. We have bookcases full of regulations, manuals, operating guidelines, policies, and operating procedures. NFPA alone takes up a couple of those shelves. The more complex or potentially injurious an item is, the more manuals and information there is on how it is to be used. But we are used to that, because they are meant to help us do a dangerous job with some potentially dangerous tools.
Lately though, it seems the job has gotten even more perilous. This is not due to the fire, but from a section of the public that has been making threats against our departments, and in some cases where units have been struck by gunfire. And logically, our personnel want to be protected from these assaults. We see departments issuing bullet-‐resistant vests and helmets, and some organizations have been calling for or allowing their personnel to be armed while on duty.
But in polling a number of departments that I have some connections with across the country, I asked two questions of them. First, “Does your department allow concealed or open carry of a firearm on-‐duty or on scene?” And secondly, “Does your department have a written policy about it?” What I found, in my unscientific poll, was that if the answer was “No, it is not allowed”, there was a written policy in place. But, if the answer was “Yes…well…only certain calls…” “Only certain people can”, or “If the Chief says okay”, I found that there was usually no written policy associated with it or only a verbal/assumed policy, if that. This article is NOT being written to promote or prohibit our personnel from being allowed to carry. That is for the individual department to decide, in my mind. But for there to be an allowance to carry this new potentially life-‐threatening equipment in our workspace, there must be a policy in place that sets out how, where, and what level of training must be achieved. Otherwise, those departments could very well be setting themselves up for a lawsuit and sorrow. Personally, I have my CCW permit and the blessing from my state to carry as a private citizen and I want to protect that right. But on a fire department, whether career or volunteer, we are not private citizens while we are doing the job. We are invited into people’s homes, and sometimes we don’t even wait for permission to enter private property. John Q. Public does not have those same privileges.
We represent the department/agency/county/city/township that has hired us. We are now held to a higher and stricter standard than Joe Citizen with his carry permit. So I ask all of you, what is your department’s policy on the carry of firearms while on a call and/or at the firehouse? If you have them established, then this question is already answered. But if you haven’t, this article is addressed to you. We are looking at major liabilities if we do not seriously address this within our departments.
I am not against protecting ourselves, but I am also not ignorant to the fact that both the department and the individual could face severe civil and legal penalties if there was no policy regarding it. You see, now we need talk about responsibility and liability.
There are some laws that might defend a person’s actions but that does not mean the departments are immune from a case being brought forward and need to be defended to prevent it from going further if someone is shot by a department employee while on duty/call. A case being sought incurs attorney fees, and if they name the individual as well as the department…and should there be a motion to sever the case…the individual may be left holding the proverbial “bag” if there was no written policy that the individual was to follow, and if there was any hint of impropriety, negligence or acting without authorization. Or the department could be held liable for not having regulations in place that addressed this issue for that employee. And yes, a volunteer, while representing a department is still an employee and an agent of that department. How many departments accept that Ricky Rescue, new on the department, can properly and adequately get on the pump and get us water…when his experience is just playing with his sump pump in the backyard? No, we put him through Pump Operations Class and we can verify he can do the job properly. We won’t even talk about driving the rig… How about something more lethal that we see nearly everyday, a defibrillator/monitor? Will we allow Freddy the New Fireman run around with the paddles without confirming he is certified and trained how to use them? The spreaders? But yet we are allowing our personnel to bring personal equipment on to scene and to the station that has lethal implications and yet we have no policy governing it’s carry or use while on the job. We have no record of their training with this equipment, other than a CCW permit, which is fairly easy to get in many states, and some states don’t require any actual education or training to carry a firearm legally.
So I have been becoming more and more concerned with the calls to allow firefighters and EMS personnel to be allowed to carry while on duty, yet not seeing any written guidelines or policies about it. Some departments just allow it to happen and don’t think anything about it and have set no policy as they are afraid of Constitutional issues.
We must remember that we can set standards for the use of equipment when it is used in the line of duty. A choice by the employee has to be made: adhere to the policy, or seek employment elsewhere if they feel the standards are too strict.
We have to protect our departments by setting policy and standard. But not having that policy to be able to benchmark off of, is opening us to high levels of liability. Firearms and their place at the station and on a scene need to be addressed, and department policy needs to be written as to who can carry and when they can carry a firearm while on duty.
Mind you, I am on the range at least 2-‐3 times a month, have extensive firearms training, and a veteran. So, to even hint that I am anti-‐firearm or anti-‐self protection is a non-‐starter. I just want to see any department that does not have a policy about carrying while on duty to establish one.
Whether it is accepting of it, or forbidding of it, let’s make sure everyone on our department knows what the policy is and what the requirements are should they be allowed.
Steven Bernard is a firefighter, conributing author, writer, video and photo journalist.