FEMA: EMS Should Enter Active Shooter ‘Warm Zones’ to Help Injured

A recent study released by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), endorsed by the Obama administration and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), recommends guidelines for first responders entering active shooter incident “warm zones.”

The guidelines are based on plans that were developed by the Hartford Consensus, a group of physicians and emergency response officials from the FBI, the Navy, the Dallas SWAT team and elsewhere.

Traditionally, EMS and other medical responders have to wait to enter an active shooter scene until law enforcement has completely cleared it. This delay in being able to respond to the injured frequently leads to victims dying from injuries that are treatable – such uncontrolled bleeding, collapsed lungs, and airway obstructions.

But the new guidelines recommend adopting procedures similar to ones that the military uses in combat – allowing medics quickly onto the battlefield to begin immediate treatment, thereby saving lives.


As active shooter incidents have become more frequent over the past few years, law enforcement has changed and developed policies and strategies on how they respond to these events. Many in the field say it’s also critical for fire and emergency medical services to also change their procedures in these events.

The plan calls for setting up stations in “warm zones” and also recommends increased use of tourniquets to stop bleeding. Widespread training of law enforcement and the general public of the use of tourniquets is also highly recommended. FEMA’s report can be found here. . . .

Emergency Film Group’s Active Shooter: Rapid Response is a safety training DVD program for organization which may be involved in the response to a mass shooting. The program contains a substantial EMS section. More information about this program can be found here. . .

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