Changing the paradigm: implementation of combined law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical service (EMS) cross-disciplinary response to hostile events
Johnson, Keith H.
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Our nation relies on law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services to protect citizens when confronted with emergent and hostile events. Mass shootings such as those that occurred at Columbine High School; Virginia Tech University; Mumbai, India; and Aurora Movie Theatre in Colorado require first responders to incorporate methods and tactics that integrate operations and challenge first responders to collaborate and operate in a unified manner. This research examines how public safety agencies can effectively implement a first responder cross-disciplinary plan to better coordinate police, fire, and EMS responses. This study begins with a historical review of past incidents that demonstrate the need for cross-disciplinary teams. Next, new policies that support the use of cross-disciplinary teams are examined. Central to this research was an empirical study of the enablers and barriers to cross-disciplinary teams during a full-scale active shooter exercise. Illustrative findings among the participants in the exercise include a moderately high level of confidence in the concept and use of cross-disciplinary teams, the ability of various disciplines to trust each other’s ability to work together, and the ability to communicate and share information. To establish and enhance the cross-disciplinary response, joint operational policies and procedures must be established.
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