On August 26 in Jacksonville, Florida, a 24-year-old suspect opened fire at a video game tournament, killing two people and injuring nine others. People had gathered at the Jacksonville Landing – a waterfront marketplace that features restaurants, a shopping mall and other entertainment for a regional video game tournament for the football video game Madden NFL 19. Winners would go on to compete in the Madden Classic in Las Vegas.
As tragedies like this one continue to unfold around the country, it’s important to have a plan in place in case an active shooter situation or other hostile event occurs at your building or facility.
The helpless feeling decreases when you have a practiced plan in place.
The Jacksonville Landing | Photo: Natalya Chernyavskaya
In response to the growing number of active shootings, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in May released NFPA 3000, a provisional standard created with insight from law enforcement, fire, EMS, medical providers, facility managers, the CIA, the FBI and other experts. The standard provides whole-community guidance on planning for, responding to and recovering from an active shooter incident and other hostile events.
“When you’re a facility manager and you’re coming up with your plan, bring fire, police and EMS into the building. Walk that building and assess that building with them. They’re going to give you a perspective that you don’t normally have, either from a security or a life safety perspective.” - John Montes
The original request for NFPA to develop this standard came from the fire chief of Orange County Fire in Orlando, Florida, whose department responded at the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016. Forty-nine people died and 58 were wounded.
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In the NFPA’s 122-year history, this marks only the second time that the organization has issued a provisional standard. Provisional standards are created in an “expedited process to address an emergency situation or other special circumstance.”
John Montes, emergency services specialist at the NFPA, says one of the most important takeaways of NFPA 3000 for facility managers is to be inclusive of the community.
“When you’re a facility manager and you’re coming up with your plan, bring fire, police and EMS into the building,” he explains. “Walk that building and assess that building with them. They’re going to give you a perspective that you don’t normally have, either from a security or a life safety perspective.”
It will also create a familiarity of your building for these players, Montes adds, so they can better serve your facility should you have an emergency.
“Understand your site and really work with your community to be integrated,” he says.
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Montes also explains how facility managers can help their communities after the incident – even if their facility is not involved.
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“The other thing is – and Jacksonville could be a great example of this – I believe they’re using private facilities for media and public information officers [people nominated by responding agencies to be the public face of relevant information],” he says.
“They’re also going to have to set up a family assistance center and find a place to do that. It’s probably going to be at a private facility. The community’s going to need places to go and places to provide services, especially in a small town. The school, the local college – those might be places they need to use to do these services because that’s where you have the space.”
When your plan is in place, Montes also encourages you to test it once a year with the community. “Some piece of the plan in some way – it doesn’t have to be a full-on drill where everybody’s moving,” he says. “It could be a tabletop. It could be a functional exercise.”
NFPA 3000 is available online. You can instantly search the document and create bookmarks, print sections or chapters and more. The NFPA is also offering an online training series, a downloadable checklist, a readiness assessment document and a fact sheet.
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