Active shooter incidents are low- or no-notice events and can happen anywhere. The FBI reports 28 active shooter incidents in 2019 that injured or killed 247 people. Incidents were recorded in schools, hospitals, houses of worship, places of employment and open areas. They happened in both small towns and large metropolitan areas.
No community is immune: that's why it's important for emergency services departments to develop an active shooter program. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Emergency Services Sector Active Shooter Guide walks first responder departments through a four-step process and lists resources to create a program:
- Awareness. Maintain a sense of organizational awareness of this issue and know where you can find resources (FBI, DHS, etc.).
- Training. Improve local active shooter planning and preparedness through no-cost online training. The guide provides links to training.
- Community outreach. Establish collaborative networks within your community. This helps during an actual event and makes it more likely that people will report suspicious activity before an incident to a friendly face within the public safety community.
- Exercise coordination. Exercise the plan to identify training and planning gaps. This is a great way to build on the previous three steps.
More active shooter resources from DHS
The Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan Guide supplements the Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan Video. Together, they create a virtual training tool designed to help develop a department's Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan.
The Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan Template is a fillable form useful in documenting a department's Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan.