The Active Shooter Incident Management Checklist is built around the Incident Command System (ICS), and the Checklist is compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS). 

Law Enforcement (LE) as an industry has been slow to adopt ICS and even slower to embrace it. The Fire/EMS industry strongly embraces ICS and has been accused of being too rigid about ICS, sometimes to the detriment of incidents. Both criticisms are fair, but the arguments lose sight of the greater good that comes from using the Incident Command System.

When a single law enforcement agency puts multiple officers on a scene, there’s no question in their mind about who is in charge on the scene (usually the ranking officer). This argument is sometimes used to demonstrate why law enforcement doesn’t need ICS, but it actually illustrates that law enforcement is already using the ICS concepts — one person is in charge. C3 Pathways Instructors frequently point out to LE personnel that they already have an Incident Commander, they just didn’t use the name.

Using a generic command system becomes hugely important when multiple agencies are operating on the same scene, and even more important when multiple disciplines are operating on the same scene. Interoperability is not just about radios and talking on the same channel, it also very much about communicating in a common language using common vocabulary and terminology.

The Active Shooter Incident Management Checklist uses standardized terminology to enable multiple agencies and disciplines to work together during the response. The Active Shooter Incident Management Checklist also clearly delineates roles and responsibilities for responders.

It is IMPORTANT to note there are a number of known terminology issues between law enforcement and fire/EMS that may put responders at risk of they are unaware. One of the most significant examples is naming the sides of buildings. Most Fire/EMS agencies letter the sides clockwise with the address side being A. Many law enforcment agencies number the sides of the building counter-clockwise with the address side SOMETIMES being 1. Unaware responders could literally end up in the exact opposite position of where they were intended to be.

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