Preparation and Training for the Multiagency Response

Active shooter incidents have underscored the need for a coordinated response by law enforcement, security personnel, and others to save lives. This requires advance planning, coordination among all response partners, and training.

Below is a series of tips and recommendations on advance planning, training, and preparation.

Planning, training, and preparation require strategic direction and resourcing from policymakers. The Recommendations for Policymakers and Executives page provides tips on this topic.

It will be useful to build on existing relationships and infrastructure to support planning and training.

  • One example is to leverage existing general major-incident and mass casualty event–relationships and structures and tailor them to include specifics for responding to mass shootings and other mass attacks.
  • Another example is to build on relationships between agencies in fusion centers.

All personnel who will play a role in rescue task forces need to be trained. As an example of what such training might entail, we present the following steps:

  • Start with group planning and tabletop exercises; the tools and resources that follow include a link to a mass shooting training scenario.
  • Employ an approach that emphasizes multifaceted, multiagency training and live-action drills and exercises to prepare for mass casualty incidents. Existing models include a 24-hour or 48-hour span of teams competing with, learning from, and getting to know each other.
  • Conduct role-based training, which requires people to walk through their assigned roles.
  • Include law enforcement, special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams, firefighters, ambulances, hospitals, venue management personnel (e.g., entertainment, sporting, schools, crowded spaces, offices, convention centers, hotels), and community volunteers in these events.
  • In live-action drills, include tests of equipment that will be used (e.g., robots to be used with bombs in vehicles, vapor-detecting canines, drones).
  • Include evaluation as a component of these exercises. Evaluations should include measuring critical response requirements.

Next Page in the Mitigate Phase

Tools and Resources for the Multiagency Response