BOSTON — As part of the Commonwealth’s commitment to emergency preparedness and community resilience, the Healey-Driscoll Administration will convene two advanced trainings for more than 90 multidisciplinary first responders on the NFPA 3000: Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Incident Response (ASHER) program, the adopted statewide framework for response to hostile incidents. The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), in coordination with the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC), is hosting the week-long train-the-trainer program to improve integration between police, fire, telecommunications and emergency medical services and certify a cohort of qualified instructors to teach the model standard to other first responders and community partners across the Commonwealth.
The State’s ability to sponsor these comprehensive training exercises and successfully implement the ASHER standard depends on the funding recommendations in the Administration’s fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget. The administration’s proposal, which provides a 5% increase across the Secretary of Public Safety and Security, ensures that the MPTC, Department of Fire Services (DFS), Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and State 911 can support local community partners, acquire necessary equipment resources and implement ASHER training.
“Massachusetts has a proud history of strong relationships between state and local emergency responders, and our administration’s first budget reflects our dedication to continuing to build those partnerships,” Gov. Maura Healey said. “Our investment in training will strengthen our first responders’ collective ability to prepare for, prevent and respond to emergencies while strengthening public safety in communities across the Commonwealth.”
“Our FY24 budget invests in our values and reaffirms our commitment to keeping communities safe,” said Lt. Gov. Kimberley Driscoll. “I commend this collaborative approach to emergency response and know this vital effort will strengthen the remarkable partnership consistently demonstrated by our state and local public safety agencies.”
MPTC will deliver this month’s Active Attack Integrated Response Train-the-Trainer course in partnership with ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training) Center at Texas State University, recognized in 2013 by the FBI as the national standard in active shooter response training. Participants will train over five days on-site at colleges in northeastern and western Massachusetts to learn about the NFPA 3000 standard, conduct full-scale exercises, and practice teaching techniques to deliver the curriculum. By the end of the two training sessions, the Commonwealth will have 90 certified instructors representing state and local police, fire departments, emergency medical services and 911 telecommunicators.
“Recent national events provide a tragic and urgent reminder that no community is immune to the unpredictable and devastating impact of an active shooter or hostile event crisis. The need for a pre-planned, integrated response across all first responder disciplines has perhaps never been more important than today.” said Public Safety and Security Minister Terrence Reidy. “Our experience in Massachusetts has shown that a unified approach and coordinated response saves lives and strengthens community resilience.”
To advance implementation in Massachusetts, Secretary Reidy directed state-run police and fire academies to adopt NFPA 3000 as the statewide standard for active shooter training and hostile event response training. The Department of Fire, State Police, and MPTC continue to develop symmetrical ASHER training for police and fire personnel.
The NFPA 3000 standard was developed through consensus among stakeholders from law enforcement, fire, public health, emergency management, homeland security and other disciplines. It identifies the minimum program elements necessary to organize, manage, and sustain an active shooter and/or hostile response program and to reduce or eliminate the risks, effects, and impacts on an organization or community affected by those events. The framework emphasizes the need for cross-agency coordination when police, fire and emergency personnel are all dispatched to the same critical incident, focusing on four main concepts: Whole Community, Unified Command, Integrated Response and Planned Recovery.
“Our shared goal is to utilize all possible tools to mitigate emerging threats by ensuring the Commonwealth’s ability to plan, prevent and respond to crisis events,” said EOPSS Undersecretary for Homeland Security Jeanne Benincasa Thorpe. “On average, active shooter incidents end in less than 6 minutes, but the event’s lasting impact on a community can last a generation. Recovery must start before an incident occurs. An integrated program and recovery plan will increase public safety and improve outcomes for affected communities.”
“MPTC is committed to working with our partners to train and deliver the ASHER statewide framework to communities across the Commonwealth. This model of interdisciplinary collaboration ensures that emergency response personnel are educated, trained and effectively prepared to respond to potential hostile incidents , that will help keep our communities safe.” said MPTC Executive Director Robert Ferullo (Ret. Chief of Police). “The MPTC will continue its work to ensure that the vital methods and best practices of these trainings are delivered to responders throughout the state.”
“Effective response to hostile incidents requires first responders to work together across agencies and often across municipal lines,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. “As Massachusetts adopts NFPA 3000 as our statewide ASHER framework, joint training events like this are critical to our goal of unified command and integrated response. Fire Academy instructors and local fire/rescue personnel work alongside their law enforcement counterparts just as they would in real-world conditions. They will bring what they learn back to their academies and home branches to continue building the life-saving knowledge base across the Commonwealth.”
“Responding to incidents of mass violence requires the vital partnerships and collaboration of numerous public safety agencies,” said Interim State Police Col. John Mawn Jr. “The time to formulate and train on that response plan is before such an incident occurs, and for that reason the ASHER program is extremely important to first responders.”
FBI data indicates that the United States has experienced over 370 active shooter incidents in the last twenty years. These incidents have resulted in almost 3,000 victims who claimed their lives 1,100 victims, including the death of approx 100 members of law enforcement.