Many of you in the business of protecting communities and those of us who are now interested observers (retired, consultants, trainers and the like) are wondering where the chaos of the last few weeks will stop. I’m not speaking of the COVID-19 Pandemic, rather the upheaval of citizens across the Nation. Anyone’s guess is equally accurate. It will stop when it stops – profound huh.
A few short months back I spoke at the Bryant Stiles Officer’s Conference in Owensboro Kentucky, a beautiful city on the Ohio River that annually welcomes close to a thousand firefighters from Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and at least one from Florida. During that event I had the honor to present “Gangs and Extremist Groups” that touched on dealing with crowd dynamics as they often threaten responder safety. Prior to that I presented “Operating During Hostile Incidents and Civil Disturbance” that as the title suggests got further into the subject.
Now, I’m not a soothsayer or someone who can tell the future. But what I can tell you that the events some of you are witnessing firsthand and others who are observing from a distance are not over. And they will not be over for quite some time. So, if I were a betting man, I would begin reading up on the many, many articles and manuals that are out there. Some have been available for decades – military doctrine, law enforcement training outlines and-the-like. If you’re not researching not only what you need to know today, but what is necessary for the forward-thinking, prepared first response officer to protect self and his/her team members.
I have listed a few files that are fairly easy reading and provides a great deal of information for those interested in being prepared for what may be a long summer.
Responder Forum: Civil Unrest (NFPA 2015). It may be a bit dated, but it still contains valuable insight and information covering subject matter such as:
Fire and EMS Response to Civil Unrest (FEMA 2020). This is a compendium of information from several sources that is both timely and for those who hate to read – short. Almost in a flashcard style document, this is a great speaking points bullet list that could easily be used at a shift briefing. It covers:
Station and Apparatus Safety
Civil Unrest SOP (NFPA and IAFC 2020)
Take care and be safe.