#ASAE18 Learning Lab: A First Responder’s Guide to Handling Active Shooter and Terrorism Threats

By Association Adviser staff • August 20, 2018

In today’s world, it’s not a matter of if an incident will happen at an event, you have to be prepared for when it does. That was the message from a panel of experts and experienced first responders at ASAE’s 2018 Annual Meeting, who agreed that the actions before, during and after an emergency event are critical to protecting people.

Glen Simpson of Community Ambulance, Jamie Painka of Professional Ambulance Service (ProEMS), Scott Moore of EMS Resource Advisors, and moderator Maria Bianchi of the American Ambulance Association all talked about how the planning before, response during and recovery after play a key role in determining a successful outcome. The speakers also shared lessons learned during the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

Some of the ways event planners can prepare now for a future incident include:

  • Sign up for active shooter training, first-aid and CPR training, and Stop the Bleed training.
  • If you see something suspicious, say something.
  • Ask venues, including houses of worship, workplaces and schools, for their emergency plan.
  • Participate in drills so the response becomes instinctual.
  • Evaluate past event emergencies, and talk about what went right and what could be done better next time.

If you ever find yourself in an emergency event:

  1. Run. Getting away is your top priority.
  2. Hide. Get out of the shooter’s view and stay quiet. Silence all electronic devices.
  3. Fight. Your last resort if you’re in immediate danger.

Finally, after the event:

  • Keep your hands visible and empty until responders have cleared the area.
  • Follow law enforcement’s instructions for where to go and what to do.
  • Seek help from a mental health professional. Experiencing an shooting or other traumatic event can have long-term impact and you may need help coping.
  • Take care of yourself first, and then help others if you can.