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 marked the 355th U.S. active shooter event this year in 336 days,  raising public awareness of the critical need for preparation, readiness and situational awareness during active shooter incidents. Tragically 14 lives were lost in San Bernardino, but many more lives were saved thanks to the speedy, professional and coordinated response by the San Bernardino law enforcement and surrounding agencies.

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.

Below are direct links to a few of the available resources:

Run. Hide. Fight.

This video was produced by the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security (Ready Houston) as part of a Department of Homeland Security Grand Funded Project of the Regional Catastrophic Planning Initiative. (Access video on YouTube).

Surviving an Active Shooter  – LA County Sheriff

Note: This video contains graphic content of a violent nature. Viewer discretion is advised. 
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department  created this video to help people answer the question “What would you do?” in the event of a sudden attack by a gunman while at work, at school, or in public. (Access video on YouTube). Visit activeshooter.lasd.org for more information.

Options for Consideration Active Shooter Preparedness Video

Options for Consideration demonstrates possible actions to take if confronted with an active shooter scenario. The video also shows how to assist authorities once law enforcement enters the scene. You may also access the video on YouTube.

Active Shooter Training Provided by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC)

The Law Enforcement First Responder Training Program (LEFRTP) is a 24-hour classroom-based training program designed to help build critical skills that law enforcement officers acting as first responders need to effectively respond to mass consequence events, including criminal acts, terrorist attacks, and other large-scale emergencies.

Active Shooter Webinar

90-minute Webinar can help the private and public sector understand the importance of developing an emergency response plan and the need to train employees on how to respond if confronted with an active shooter. The presentation describes the three types of active shooters–workplace/school, criminal, and ideological–and how their planning cycles and behaviors differ.

Active Shooter: How to Respond Resource Materials

DHS has developed a series of materials to assist businesses, government offices, and schools in preparing for and responding to an active shooter. These products include a desk reference guide, a reference poster, and a pocket-size reference card.

Available Materials

 Integrated response (culture change)

First Responder Guide for Improving Survivability in Improvised Explosive Device and/or Active Shooter Incidents

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department Operational Considerations and Guide for Active Shooter and Mass Casualty Incidents

Improving Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response: Best Practices and Recommendations for Integrating Law Enforcement, Fire, and EMS    (Includes a list of technical experts who may provide best practices)

Active Shooter Study: Quick Reference Guide

Prevailing Response Models and Concepts

Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training

Rescue Task Force

Tactical Emergency Casualty Care

Improving Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response: Best Practices and Recommendations for Integrating Law Enforcement, Fire, and EMS

Tactical Combat Casualty Care


Federal Bureau of Investigation – Active Shooter Incidents


E912: Preparing Communities for a Complex Coordinated Attack –  IEMC: Community Specific

The DHS Office of Health Affairs stands ready to assist first responders in their endeavors to strengthen their response efforts. For  technical assistance or additional information, please contact OHA at Healthaffairs@HQ.DHS.GOV.

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