Early this year, the NFPA promised to fast-track a new standard to help first responders, healthcare providers, facility managers, and others prepare for an active-shooter incident, and they have delivered, complete with its own acronym.
NFPA 3000, a Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER), is now available in paperback for $52, or, as with other NFPA codes and standards, it is also available on the National Fire Protection Association’s website  for free in a read-only format. The format cannot be printed, searched, or copied. But it is a quick read at only 48 pages.
Designed as a roadmap for the multidisciplinary response needed in the aftermath of an active-shooter incident, there is a separate chapter for “Hospital Preparedness and Response for Out-of-Hospital ASHER Incidents.”
The chapter outlines minimum expectations for hospitals in preparing for, reacting to, and receiving patients from an active-shooter event in the area. Among other things, it says hospitals should:
• plan and drill regularly with other local authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs)
• have at least two ways to communicate with public safety officials about how patients are being distributed to health care sites, and to test communications at least once a month
• expect spontaneous arrivals of injured patients and those looking for them
• have a way to identify victims and reunite children with their families
• and have a security plan to restrict access as needed, and to search the facility for devices and weapons if that becomes a concern
Other chapters detail expectations for the variety of first responders, government agencies, and other organizations who might be involved in an ASHER response to prepare, plan, and recover from an incident.
The publication marks only the second time the NFPA has fast-tracked a provisional standard.
While most standards or codes can take years of planning, the ASHER standard was born of an urgency brought by the request of Otto Drozd, the chief of Orange County Fire and Rescue in Florida, three months after the June 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
In that attack, 49 people died and more than four dozen others were shot, with many of the injured walking to nearby hospitals or in some cases physically carried by friends or others down several blocks. Since then, hospitals nationwide have responded to mass shooting incidents at a church, a concert, and a high school, among others.
At the time of Drozd’s request for a standard, there was an abundance of guidance material available but “there was no consensus standard for the components of a multidisciplinary response for preparedness, response, and recovery to active shooter and/or hostile events,” notes the NFPA in the opening to NFPA 3000.
A committee of 46 experts from law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, hospitals, physicians’ groups, and others was formed to receive technical, expert, and public comments and arrive at a consensus of standards.
The fast-tracked standard will now move into the normal biennial review and update process for other NFPA publications, according to the NFPA.
Editor’s note: This blog post was written by A.J. Plunkett, our colleague over at DecisionHealth.