Tragedies Remind Us All What is at Stake
The senseless shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX serve as stark reminders how far we have to go to resolve many societal problems. Everyone reading this has their own ideas about the root cause and potential means to resolve the pathology that creates people willing to commit such horrendous acts of violence. But none of those potential solutions will stop another deranged individual from entering another school, church, or grocery store next week, next month or tomorrow.
What can be done, while we all work on why people would commit such crimes, is mitigate or eliminate risk in the interim. During the NFPA Conference in Boston, I met with fellow committee members of NFPA 3000 – the Standard for Active Shooter / Hostile Events Response (ASHER), to discuss recent events and how we can create more awareness and acceptance for this standard. NFPA 3000 is a true cross-functional guideline that addresses all aspects of an active shooter or similar mass casualty event. It can be used as a guide for local governments and school boards to apply all layers of preparation, prevention, and response. Buti it is only one document. Several other provisions with other documents like NFPA 101 and NFPA 72 must also be followed to create real security. NFPA codes address egress and ingress, which I know was an issue in Parkland and Uvalde. Locks that allow people to leave but not come in, do no good if they are not used, not maintained, or are circumvented. But as you all know; functioning egress and ingress is just one component of perimeter security. A multi-layer approach is needed and much of it can be accomplished sooner rather than later.
While I am sure legislation to address school security, gun control, mental health, and other potential solutions will come, there is no need to wait for government mandates to urge local governments to do what can be done now. ESA members are experts in alarms, access control, and video surveillance. Take that expertise and help local officials where you can. There is a heightened since of urgency to secure vulnerable targets. ESA members can help.