Increase in Active Shooter Response Training

170108141724-fort-lauderdale-airport-shooting-video-vo-tmz-3-exlarge-169Last week’s tragic shooting at Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood Airport is another chilling reminder of how vulnerable public places may be when there is a gunman with an agenda. Schools, malls, movie theaters, nightclubs, airports – the list goes on – have all been targeted by shooters.

These incidents have led many business owners, school administrators, and other public officials to ask just how they can prepare in the event the unthinkable happens and active shooter response trainings have expanded far beyond just law enforcement.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends the “run, hide, fight” model of defense for anyone who is trapped and unable to escape an active shooter. The agency recommends getting as far away as possible from where the shooter is and using whatever resources are available to hide behind to block bullets. As a last resort, those trapped should fight back, again using whatever is available as a weapon, such as furniture or fire extinguishers.

Several years ago, Emergency Film Group produced Active Shooter: Rapid Response training video. This program was developed under the direction of a technical committee comprised of experts in law enforcement and emergency response. The program was designed for school administration, law enforcement, emergency management, security and others who may be involved in the response to a mass shooting. To learn more about this program, check here . . .

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Excellent Training and Response Averts Tragedy in Ohio Campus Attack

active-shooterThe campus attack at Ohio State University on Monday was another stark reminder of just how crucial it is for colleges and universities to have full security measures in place to diffuse these incidents as quickly as possible. Although 11 people were injured in the attack, the outcome could have been much worse if not for the quick action of Ohio State police officer Alan Horujko, as well as the warning system the school had in place to warn students and faculty a campus attack was in progress.

The attacker, who attended the university, rammed his car into a group of students at 9:52 a.m. Within seconds, Officer Horujko called the incident in. Minutes later, the university sent out a campus alert reporting an active shooter incident, warning students to “Run Hide Fight.” Ohio State Emergency Management sent an alert out on Twitter and many students tweeted back they were safe in barricaded rooms and warned others to find safety.

Two minutes after the attacker crashed his car into the crowd and exited his vehicle wielding a knife, he was shot by Officer Horujko. The campus lockdown was lifted 90 minutes later.

Many officials, from the governor to the mayor of Columbus, credited the training and coordination between school officials and law enforcement with being able to respond so quickly and avert what could have been a much more tragic event. All the victims the attacker stabbed are expected to survive their injuries.

Training and coordination of agencies are key in any emergency response. This is why Emergency Film Group offers a wide-range of DVD-based training programs to ensure schools, hospitals, and industries are prepared for these unfortunate – but all too common – events. Check out our extensive library here. . .

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Security Challenges

14358208Several months ago, the U.S. Department of Education released an updated version of The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting. One of the topics covered in the handbook is instructions regarding how organizations can successfully implement the Jeanne Clery Act.

The Jeanne Clery Act – which was passed in 1990 – requires all universities and colleges which receive federal funding to track and report information regarding crime on campus, as well as efforts that are put in place to improve campus security. The law is named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old freshman attending Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In 1986, she was raped and murdered in her campus residence hall by another student. After the murder, it was revealed that there had been more than 35 other violent crimes reported at the school within the prior three years. Her parents sued the university, arguing that had they known about the university’s crime record, their daughter would never have attended the school. They were awarded $2 million in damages.

The law requires that all schools submit their annual security report by October 1 each year to both current and prospective students. The report must contain the following:

  • Prior three years of campus crime statistics;
  • Description of all crime prevention programs established by the school;
  • Policy regarding safety and security measurements provided; and
  • Required procedures in alleged sexual offense investigations and prosecutions.

The Clery Act also requires the school’s security or campus police departments to keep an up-to-date log of all crimes which have been reported. Each incident report must include the type of incident, date, time, and location. The log must have at least the most recent 60 days’ worth of reports and request for any incidents which were reported prior must be provided within two days of the request. All schools must have a record of the past eight years’ worth of crime statistics on site (beginning in 2012).

Each institution is also required to have a procedure in place to provide timely warnings to students and others on campus of any crimes which present a threat to everyone’s safety.

Providing a safe and secure environment – whether it is a college campus, hospital, industry, or any other organization – can be challenging with all the different types of threats to safety that exist today. Emergency Film Group offers many training programs which can assist organizations in that training.

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A Deadly Danger for Law Enforcement and First Responders in the War on Opioid Epidemic

first responder dangers, law enforcement protection, The opioid epidemic rages on across the nation, with law enforcement and other emergency responders on the front lines, battling to save the lives of the countless number of overdose victims. Naloxone has become standard law enforcement gear in many communities, as police are called on or find high numbers of overdose victims on a daily basis. As officials fight to stop the epidemic, drug traffickers and dealers are one step ahead, coming up with newer, more powerful drugs to flood the streets with. But the newest opioid they are spreading is deadly not only to the addicts who take it but also to emergency responders trying to save their lives.

Carfentanil, a powerful animal tranquilizer, has begun showing up in cities across the country. The drug is the most potent commercial opioid in the world and is said to be 10,000 times stronger than morphine. A 10-milligram dose of the drug can kill a 15,000-pound elephant. That same dosage – diluted and cut up – could kill 500 people. Drug traffickers are mixing the drug with heroin. In some cases, they even disguise it as heroin.

One kilogram of the drug will provide 50 million doses to drug addicts. That was the amount in a package that Canadian Border Services Agency recently intercepted. The drugs, shipped from China, had been destined for Calgary. In this country, Ohio appears to be “port-of-call” for the drug’s entry. The drug has also shown up in Florida and Kentucky.

But not only is the drug deadly to those who inject it, it can also be deadly to anyone who comes in contact with the drug physically since it can be absorbed into the skin. Veterinarians who work with carfentanil use protective masks, gloves, and aprons. A dose as small as the size of a grain of salt is enough to kill a person.

This puts first responders and law enforcement who arrive at the scene of an overdose in serious – if not deadly – danger. Officials have begun calling on law enforcement to no longer perform field testing on drugs they find at the scene because of the potentially fatal risks.

It is critical that all emergency responders are provided with the proper training and equipment to protect themselves from all the potential hazards they face in the field. Emergency Film Group offers several programs which can assist in that training. Check out our extensive training library here. . .



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Two Killed in Middle School Active Shooter Incident

A teacher was killed and two students injured in another tragic school shooting today. The incident occurred at the middle school in Sparks, Nevada, which is located east of Reno.

According to police reports, at approximately 7:15 this morning, a student pulled a gun on a teacher and shot him. Two other students were also shot and are currently listed in critical condition. According to Sparks City Manager Shaun Carey, the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

At this time, authorities are not releasing any details about a possible motive for the shooting.

Swat team responds to active shooter call at the Sparks Middle School. Swat team responds to active shooter call at the Sparks Middle School.

In just this decade alone, there have been over a dozen active shooter incidents at elementary, middle and high schools across this country.

December 14, 2012 - Sandy Hook Elementary School - Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, murders 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before killing himself. Police later discover the shooter’s mother dead from a gunshot wound. The final count is 28 dead, including the shooter.

February 27, 2012 - A shooting occurs at Chardon High School in Ohio. Three students were murdered by student gunman T.J. Lane, 17. Lane is sentenced to life in prison in March, 2013.

January 5, 2011 - Millard South High School, Omaha, Nebraska. Robert Butler, 17, opens fire on principal Curtis Case and vice principal Vicki Kasper. Butler then kills himself about a mile from the school. Vice principal Kasper later died at the hospital.

February 5, 2010 - Discovery Middle School, Madison, Alabama. A ninth grade student dies after being shot in the head by another student. The shooter is taken into custody.

August 21, 2008 - Central High School, Knoxville, Tennessee. An unnamed teen shoots and kills another teen. The suspect is arrested by police.

January 3, 2007 - Henry Foss High School, Tacoma, Washington. Student Douglas Chanthabouly, 18, fatally shoots another student. Chanthabouly is taken into custody by police.

October 2, 2006 - Georgetown Amish School, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. Charles Roberts IV, 32, entered an Amish school and takes at least 11 girls hostage. Five girls were killed and six others wounded. Roberts then killed himself.

September 29, 2006 - Weston High School, Cazenovia, Wisconsin. Eric Hainstock, 15, goes to school armed with a shotgun and a handgun. He shoots and kills the school principal. He is convicted of murder in August 2007 and sentenced to life in prison.

September 27, 2006 - Platte Canyon High School, Bailey, Colorado. Duane Morrison, 54, takes six female students hostage. When SWAT teams enter the school, Morrison shoots 16-year-old Emily Keyes, who later dies at the hospital. Morrison dies from a self-inflicted shot.

November 8, 2005 - Campbell County Comprehensive High School, Jacksboro, Tennessee. A 15-year-old student opens fire on a principal and two assistant principals, killing one of them and critically wounding another.

March 21, 2005 - Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. 16-year-old Jeff Weise kills his grandfather and another adult, four fellow students, a teacher and a security officer. He then killed himself.

September 24, 2003 - Rocori High School - Cold Spring, Minnesota. Jason McLaughlin, 15, shoots and kills two students. McLaughlin is taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder.

April 24, 2003 - Red Lion Area Junior High School - Red Lion, Pennsylvania. James Sheets, 14, brings a gun to school and kills his principal and then himself.

March 5, 2001 - Santana High School - Santee, California.  Fifteen year-old Charles "Andy" Williams kills two classmates, a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old, and injures 13. Williams is sentenced in 2002 to at least 50 years in prison.

May 26, 2000 - Lake Worth Community Middle School - Lake Worth, Florida. Nathaniel Brazill, 13, is being sent home for misbehaving, returns to school and shoots and kills his teacher. Brazill is sentenced to 28 years in prison.

February 29, 2000 - Buell Elementary School - Mount Morris Township, Michigan. An unnamed six-year-old boy shoots and kills a six-year-old playmate, Kayla Rolland, at school. He is removed from his mother's custody and put up for adoption.


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Dry Ice Bombs Planted and Explode at LAX

A baggage handler has been arrested and is being held on $1 million bail for planting several dry ice bombs in restricted access areas at the Los Angeles International Airport. Two of the bombs exploded.

According to police officials, on Sunday evening, a bomb exploded outside a restroom located in Terminal 2, an area the public is not allowed in. A 20-ounce plastic bottle containing dry ice was found at the location. No injuries were reported, but operations at the terminal were suspended and flights were delayed as a precaution.

Monday evening, an employee found a bomb that was fizzing, but had not exploded, near the gate of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. This is another area off-limits to the public. When police arrived, the employee told them he had found another similar device which had exploded the night before, but didn’t realize what it was until he discovered this second device.

Demonstration of a dry ice explosion. Demonstration of a dry ice explosion.

On Tuesday, 28 year-old Dicarlo Bennett, an employee of Servisair, was arrested on suspicion of possessing and exploding a destructive device near an aircraft. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Dept. said that terrorism was not the motive for Bennett’s actions. Instead, Deputy Chief Michael Downing referred to Bennett as a “prankster” who thought planting the bombs was humorous.

Investigators say that despite there not being any video evidence showing Bennett planting the bombs, there is plenty of other evidence linking him to the crime. It is believed he took the dry ice used in making the bombs directly from an airplane.

Emergency Film Group’s Terrorism: Explosive & Incendiary Weapons examines pre- and post-detonation response to IEDs, dirty bombs, secondary devices, and much more. This program is part of the WMD Response Series and can also be purchased separately. To learn more, read here. . .

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Kenyan Mall Attack Prompts US Retailers to Prepare for Terrorist Attacks Here

The recent terrorist attack at a Kenyan shopping mall highlights the need for retailers to work with law enforcement to ensure the safety of both employees and customers here in the United States.

At a recent hearing in front of the House Committee on Homeland Security, National Retail Federation (NRF) Vice President Richard Mellor addressed those concerns and the association’s commitment to respond to those threats.

Mellor, who is a former police officer, has been working in the area of public safety for forty years. He categorized shopping malls and other retail establishments as “soft targets” and testified that no one would have predicted or have been prepared for an attack such as the devastating one that took place at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi last month.

That attack, carried out by Somalia’s militant group Al Shabaab, lasted three days, killing 72 people and injuring over 200 more. Part of the mall collapsed from a huge fire that was caused by fierce gun battles between the terrorists and security forces.

kenya Victims of mass shooting at Kenyan mall.

Mellor stated in this testimony that NRF is constantly working with law enforcement, as well as other local, state and federal agencies on developing active shooter responses that fall within the Department of Homeland Security guidelines.  

“Retailers have sophisticated protocols to deal with the threats from a wide range of situations, including organized retail crime (ORC) activities, robbery, active shooter incidents, impacts from natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornadoes as well as being a potential target for a terrorist attack,” Mellor testified. “Because these threats are always present, retailers invest heavily to ensure that they are prepared to deal with any and all threats against their businesses, their employees and their customers. Moreover, retailers are consistently evaluating the effectiveness of their programs and seeking improvements. As criminals and threats become more sophisticated, so do retailers.”

Emergency Film Group’s Handling Emergencies DVD teaches professional security officers and other personnel how to respond to incidents, including workplace violence, in the facilities that they protect. Our Countering Terrorism DVD helps prepare security personnel in the event of a terrorist attack affecting their facility. Both are part of the Professional Security Officer Series.

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Another Mass Shooting Claims 12 Victims

Twelve people were killed and another eight injured when a gunman opened fire, as he perched on an overlook above an atrium at the Washington Navy Yard yesterday. The shooter, identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, died in a gun battle with police.

Ages of the victims killed range from 46 to 73 years. Police still have not released all the victims’ names pending notification of their families. Three of the five injured victims were shot, including a 23 year veteran of the Washington D.C. police department, who was shot twice in the leg. The other five victims were hospitalized for contusions and chest pains. Officer Scott Williams and the other injured victims are all expected to survive.

Alexis was a Navy reservist for four years before being honorably discharged in 2011. His records reveal several run-ins with police. These incidents show a possible issue with anger management. A Navy official said they had originally sought to kick out Alexis with a general discharge because of his pattern of misconduct while in uniform, however, because of the slow process, when Alexis requested an honorable discharge, the Navy granted it.

For the past few years, Alexis had been working as a military contractor. There are reports that he was involved in some kind of dispute with the company he was working for and felt he was owed money. He had just arrived in D.C. last week for a project at the Navy Yard and had a security clearance and a valid military identification card, known as a common access card, allowing him unfettered access into most facilities.


Members of the active shooter teams on site at Washington Navy Yard's mass shooting. Members of the active shooter teams on site at Washington Navy Yard's mass shooting.


According to law enforcement, Alexis drove onto the grounds of the navy yard on Monday morning with three weapons in his vehicle. He took the weapons out, proceeded into Building 197 and opened fire. Questions have been raised as to how he was actually able to gain access to Building 197, brandishing weapons since the building is supposed to have armed security at the door and those entering need to present credentials to enter.

There were several shootouts between Alexis and active shooter teams before he was brought down by a D.C. police officer and a U.S. Park police officer.

The Navy Yard shooting marks the seventh time in the past decade that a gunman has killed 10 or more people in a single incident. In 2007, 32 people were killed in the Virginia Tech; 13 people were killed in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting; last year, 12 people were shot and killed at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater; and the Newtown, Conn. school shooting last year in which 26 people were killed, including 20 children.

Emergency Film Group’s Active Shooter: Rapid Response covers the key topics in preparing for and responding to a mass shooting. The film also offers guidance for school officials and emergency operation centers. Organizations of all kinds, in 39 states and abroad, are using the film to prepare – often showing the film to start an exercise involving schools and the emergency response community. To learn more, read here

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Specially Trained Firefighters Needed for Grain Elevator Rescue

Firefighters specially trained in confined-space rescue saved a man who was trapped in a filled grain elevator at Premier Cooperative in Sydney, IL.  The team of firefighters is comprised of firefighters from the Urbana, Champaign and Danville fire departments and serves all of Champaign County.

Employees had been augering grain from a bin when it stopped flowing.  Reports estimated there was about four feet of grain at the center of the bin and about 20 feet tapering upward along the walls. One of the workers climbed down to unplug the auger and the machine collapsed, causing him to fall to the bottom and the 20 feet of grain along the walls to bury him.

Fourteen firefighters and four instructors from the University of Illinois' Fire Services Institute responded to the call and helped removed grain to free the victim. The team split up into groups of four and five and worked for about 30 minutes at a time.

Compounding the difficulty of the rescue was the temperature. With outside temperatures hovering around 90, the temperature inside the grain bin soared to 120 degrees. Rescuers wore face masks to try to keep from inhaling grain dust. Working with heavy rigging and ropes, they were finally able to pull the victim out three and half hours after he fell in. Tragically, the 55 year-old man had died.

Confined space rescue represents one of the most challenging and dangerous rescue operations undertaken by local fire departments today. Emergency Film Group’s three-part training DVD series provides a comprehensive examination of response issues in a confined space emergency. To learn more, read here. . .


Plywood is loaded into a grain bin elevator where a man was trapped. Plywood is loaded into a grain bin elevator where a man was trapped.


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