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How crisis management tech helps emergency managers prepare for active shooter incidents –

responders (Christopher Penler/


How crisis management tech helps emergency managers prepare for active shooter incidents

Americans have become all too familiar with the irreparable effects of senseless gun violence that has already claimed more than 10,700 lives this year alone. With the toll expected to continue, public-sector emergency managers must have the tools to respond to the next active shooting incident effectively.

Emergency managers should incorporate emerging technology platforms into their community’s active shooter plan to ensure the best outcomes during the next critical incident. The right platform will streamline real-time communication and collaboration among city or county employees, dispatchers and first responders. The only way to expect the unexpected is to have a system in place that focuses on mitigation, response and recovery and saving as many lives as possible. After all, nobody can predict when the next critical incident will happen, so having the infrastructure in place is crucial.

A critical aspect of active shooter incident preparedness is equipping first responders with the technology needed to reduce casualties and enhance communication between departments. According to the 2020 EMS Trend Report, only 31% of first responders said they feel like their organization is well prepared to respond to a mass casualty incident, with a mere 7% saying they were “extremely well” prepared. A significant part of being ready for an MCI is having the tech capabilities to streamline the instant, real-time communication that makes a critical difference when that emergency alarm rings.

Without a robust tech platform, an active shooter incident in a community sets off a time-consuming phone relay that passes information among community emergency managers, first responders and emergency room dispatchers. A process like this, which depends on verbal communication, increases the risk of miscommunication, which can cost lives and needlessly distress families waiting to hear about their loved ones.

Now, here is what happens during an MCI after emergency managers have incorporated tech solutions into their emergency response plan:

  • EMS dispatchers receive details of an active shooter incident, and they create an MCI in their web-based incident management program. 
  • Automated notifications are sent to the emergency room at the nearest hospital using the recommendations provided by EMS computer-aided dispatch.
  • All stakeholders are automatically notified of the incident, eliminating the potential for miscommunication.
  • Once EMS dispatchers have been notified that the incident has been de-escalated and victim treatment is under control, they can end the event and notify all parties, which can then focus on recovery efforts.
  • Emergency managers can share important updates with local and state officials during and after the incident to ensure accurate information is disseminated to the public.

As the above example illustrates, having a comprehensive incident command solution will streamline communications, resulting in a faster and more effective response than is possible with a manual process. Incident management technology’s time-saving collaboration gives first responders and hospital staff more time to focus on life-saving efforts and allows emergency managers to review details of the event and find potential areas for improvement.

With incident management solutions emergency managers and their teams can prepare for the unimaginable and keep as many community members safe as possible.

About the Author

Sam Klietz is SVP and chief client and sales officer at Juvare.