Live Breakout Sessions

On April 30, 2019 at 5:40 PM, a former student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte returned to the campus on the last day of classes. The perpetrator went into an anthropology classroom and opened fire on the students with a pistol. The perpetrator fired 26 rounds in less than 30 seconds, killing two students and critically injuring four others. The perpetrator was stopped when student Riley Howell tackled the shooter. During a brief fight on the ground, the perpetrator fired three rounds into Riley, killing him instantly. University of North Carolina at Charlotte Police Department officers were on scene within two and a half minutes and had the shooter in custody in three minutes. During the confusion of the event, 9-1-1 callers reported additional shooters, bombs strapped to students, and other potential explosive devices. The campus has a 1,000 contiguous acre footprint, with 3,000 employees and 30,000 students. There are more than 72 buildings on the campus, including 15 high-rises. In the immediate area of the shooting, students fled to 10 different buildings, resulting in more than three million square feet of area to be searched. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte Fire Department, and Mecklenburg EMS Agency converged on the scene with a massive response. Within 3.5 minutes of the shooting, Charlotte firefighters were treating the first gunshot patient. Within five minutes of the shooting unified command was established with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Police Department, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and Charlotte Fire Department. Within nine minutes, Rescue Task Forces entered the classroom at Kennedy Hall where the shooting occurred. Within 19 minutes, all surviving patients were transported off the scene. Within 48 minutes, the first critical patient was in surgery at the trauma center downtown, located 15 miles away. At the 80-minute mark, all three patients were in surgery who required emergent intervention. The successful response to this shooting was years in the making. The City of Charlotte began their comprehensive active shooter response program in January 2013. Since that time, more than 5,000 responders in the city were trained. The police department and fire department held 35 large-scale exercises and 20 different tabletop exercises. The fire department also created specialized tactical units that played a large role in supporting law enforcement during the UNCC response. One presenter was the second arriving fire department chief officer and served as a deputy incident commander for the event, overseeing operations in Kennedy Hall where the shooting occurred. The other presenter is the commander for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Special Operations Division and commanded law enforcement tactical operations at the event. In this presentation, the presenters will discuss the training and preparation that occurred before the shooting, the response to the shooting, and the lessons learned from the shooting. The presenters will also discuss the uniqueness of responding to a location in within the city limits that is state property. Last, the presenters will discuss recovery considerations at the university.

Since 2005, the emergency response community in Ventura County has been working towards truly integrating the response to acts of violence. In 2010 we developed a workgroup with local law, fire, and EMS agencies to develop the Rescue Task Force program. By 2013 we were able to train all firefighters within the county and a large percentage of our law enforcement and dispatchers. On November 7th, 2018 a gunman entered Borderline Bar& Grill and killed 12 innocent members of the community, including Sgt. Ron Helus of Ventura Co. Sheriff’s Office. Less than 15hrs after the shooting, 2 devastating wildfires started within the county and would eventually burn 100k acres and destroy over 1500 structures. Our entire response community should have had the time to grief and recover from the Borderline Incident but instead, were forced into action for the next 2 weeks. During this discussion we will go over lessons learned from the Borderline response, dealing with multiple, large scale incidents in a short amount of time, and peer/crisis support.

On May 18th, 2018 Santa Fe Fire & Rescue responded to an active shooter at the Santa Fe High School. The incident rapidly evolved into a multi-agency response of police, Fire, EMS, and Dispatchers from multiples cities and counties. Learning what worked and what continues to be learned in the aftermath of a critical incident is paramount for not only a multi-agency response but also a multi-agency recovery.
Will discuss discuss how re-unification with others, in my incident it was Cliff Woitena, Eric Santos, Nick Palomo, and John Barnes, can help in the healing process of a critical incident. How contact with those individuals, especially on the anniversary date have a positive impact on how you move forward after a critical incident. It will also touch on what CISM, PCIS, and peer support can offer in after care from an incident, if it is needed.

Today, America faces several threats that can disrupt not only our safety and security, but seriously challenge our first response resources in a way we have not seen since 9/11. These real challenges posed by different high consequence events such as terrorism, domestic extremism, political violence, pandemic related challenges, and dramatic increases in violent crime sweeping across the country. This lecture will focus on the emerging threats to the American homeland and the methods first responders, security personnel, and civilians can do to protect themselves, organizations, and communities.


Beginning the presentation will be a discussion specifically related to the current threat picture which includes the terrorism threat (domestic and international), the rise of violent extremism in the U.S., and how the use of political violence is used to create High Consequence Events. Throughout the presentation, discussion will identify those who are currently involved in creating high consequence events as well as the challenges of ongoing adversarial conflict. A brief examination of key groups will be explored, as well as frequently used tactics to create High Consequence Events. Included in this presentation, attendees will gain an understanding of those who may commit future attacks, emerging threats, and why these attacks have and continue to occur easily in the homeland. There will also be discussion about the various observable indicators of potential terrorist activity, home grown violent extremist mobilization indicators, detection of anomalous behavior, as well as identifying different attack methodologies used by our adversaries.


What to expect from future attacks and what first responders and security personnel can do to be more prepared is critical in effectively responding to high consequence events. This lecture will discuss the difference between low magnitude attacks, low value attacks, and strategic level attacks including its impact on our communities. Understanding the type of attack methodology can greatly assist in decision making in what personnel can do to increase security at critical infrastructure. mass gathering events, and other high valued targets. The use of physical security enhancements, enhancing the role of first responder and security personnel, integration of the triad of personnel, CCTV, and hostile surveillance detection will be discussed as a first step to improving security at target locations.


Finally, this lecture will discuss the importance of developing counterterrorism strategies for all communities. These issues are no longer big city problems. The year 2020 has brought a lot of adversity that has challenged the entire country, which has only been observed a few other times in our history. What 2020 has demonstrated is high consequence events can occur anywhere… at any time… in any community...no matter the size or geographic location. Thus, first responders and security personnel must be prepared for the challenges high consequence events will place upon their abilities and capabilities. This lecture will introduce many of the tools necessary to protect, prevent, and respond to high consequence events. These tools will include utilizing intelligence to enhance counterterrorism capabilities, strengthening security posture for critical incidents, and utilizing readily available training and resources for first responders, security personnel, and civilians. In addition, attendees will be directed throughout the lecture to various available government resources regarding training in terrorism awareness, response, planning, and mitigation.

Community Approach to Prevention, Response, and Resiliency to Acts of Mass Violence

Presented by James Sellers and Kevin Burd

Session will focus on ways the Comal County Active Threat Committee has created a unique regional approach to dealing with active threats. Attendee should expect a presentation that demonstrates a unified approach to identifying, responding to and recovering from an act of mass violence. Presentation will include how this approach was idealized, realized, and practiced in Comal County and how that approach is being used in other regions of Texas.

It CAN happen to you! What are you doing to prepare, react and respond? We have all heard the phrase, “We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.” This becomes evident when we review recent active threat events. It becomes even more evident when we review how aggressors, civilians and responders reacted under life-threatening stress. This course will use personal experience, case studies and conversation to identify areas where we can improve our ability to react appropriately under stress. These knowledge, skills and abilities can then be adapted to the unit and department levels.

The possibility of encountering violent, life-threatening events is a significant source of anxiety for law enforcement officers and educators. Moreover, our nation's police officers and educators are ill-prepared to handle the emotional consequences following such an event. This session will detail strategies which may be used in training which will lessen anxiety and fear, thus increasing the chances for survival. A framework for suicide awareness and overcoming suicidal behavior will then be presented.

THE NEXT STEP: Building Upon the Standard Response Protocol Foundation

Presented by Daniel Weber and John-Michael Keyes

The SRP (Standard Response Protocol) has been effectively adopted by schools, businesses, and first responder agencies across the country. The problem we see now is that training and conversation stops once the posters go up. Addressing best practices in turning our drills into effective training for critical events is the next step in the security process. This process requires addressing and reassessing our current Evacuation, Lockout, Lockdown, and Hold procedures.  This presentation will discuss evidence based policy considerations, administration response, and how to invoke critical thinking and cognitive flexibility in our drills and exercises.

Pre-Recorded Sessions

Calling 911 can be a very stressful experience, and that stress may be compounded when the patient falls under the Special Populations umbrella. Many providers are uncomfortable or unsure of how to approach patient care on a person who may be gender-expansive, or display signs of being developmentally/mentally delayed. This presentation will cover the terms common to the Special Populations demographic, discuss the importance of using preferred pronouns and titles, and explore the threats prevalent to special patients. We will also discuss the potential challenges (and overcoming them) associated with performing a hands-on assessment, ending with a review of the legal position on gender markers, mental capacity, and consent with regard to how that may affect interviews, care, and documentation. As the Special Populations demographic grows, it is important that EMS providers understand, and are comfortable with, providing care to those who may present outside their regular patient expectations, while further understanding the potential for unconventional presentation of injuries or illness. We, as providers, must be able to put aside our personal biases and interact with the public in a respectful and professional manner.

In recent years the number of high-profile events which required a tactical response has increased. From the events of the Pulse nightclub to more recent occurrences in Las Vegas. Not only are these types of “Black Swan” events more frequent, the casualty rates are increasing in number as well. Cited time and time again in the after-action reviews of the incidents is a failure to triage appropriately. In the Fort Hood shooting it was found that there was approximately a 70% inaccurate triage rate which led to poorer patient outcomes in the end. Currently utilized methodologies of START and SALT Triage when studied are shown to both be ineffective and neither sensitive nor specific at correctly categorizing critical patients. Both algorithms suffer from significant flaws that this presentation will address including what are considered fatal flaws in their design. These flaws include use of respirations or requiring the provider performing triage to understand the current status of available resources. A newly developed triage algorithm that is scientifically based and shown to be more easily remembered and applied is presented in this discussion. The Rapid Assessment of Mentation and Pulse (RAMP) Triage technique is a simple two step algorithm that categorizes patients into one of three categories; delayed, immediate, or expected/deceased. This evidence-based approach to triage is more easily deployed in the tactical environment and can cross over into all manners of mass casualty events in both the civilian and military world. Attendees to this presentation will be able bring the information provided back to their respective agencies and be able to implement the technique into their local protocols.

Supporting Training Through Grants
Presented by Joel Lofton

This session will focus on the funding opportunities that agencies and jurisdictions may access to support ALERRT related training. This session is best suited for agencies that have worked with the ALERRT Center to establish: 1) A sufficient number of ALERRT Center Trained and Certified Instructors. 2) An adequate training need for operators within their jurisdiction and surrounding areas. 3) A willingness to support training with man hours, equipment and expendables after available support from the ALERRT Center is exhausted. For agencies/jurisdictions in such situations, this session will assist you in identifying available funding sources, pathways for program success and grant language that has proven successful over time.

Learn how to plan active shooter/critical incident training exercises with a collaborative, community-based approach, integrating multiple agencies, disciplines, and resources. Session includes lessons learned and current best practices.

Drawing on data from Dr. Swift’s 2017 study titled, Active Shooter Event Severity, Media Reporting, Offender Age and Location, this lecture will explore the validity of variables that are commonly believed to impact the mortality rate of active shooter events. During this lecture additional variables including isolation and operant conditioning will be introduced to attendees to create a deeper understanding of the cognitive processes of active shooters which enables them to take lives of their victims. This lecture will close with a discussion about how understanding of theses variables may be used to improve active shooter, prevention, intervention and response.

50 years of leadership and life lessons told in an inspiring, educational, and sometimes very personal way.

Overview of the process of campus carry within a school district

Anticipating the Unthinkable

Presented by Carly Posey

Anticipating the Unthinkable: Carly tells her story of no one being prepared for what happened inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. She shares what went wrong and right on that day and the days and years to follow. She shares her perspective on the events and how a school community can be proactive and be prepared for the unthinkable. Carly gives real solutions on school safety and recovery in the aftermath. She has spoken to thousands of school community members and is honored to have a part in improving school safety.

This course will help fire departments develop training protocols, what equipment you might need to purchase, and how to organize your department for an active-shooter or other mass violence incident.

A highly effective Active Shooter program consists of more than a simple training program, It's about bridging the gap and creating a partnership between your Law Enforcement, Fire/EMS, Federal Agencies, Businesses, News Media, and most important the community so that everyone is working towards preventing active shooter events and more effective response. Our discussion will be based upon the successes and challenges that the Memphis Police Department has faced with the development of their program. Our Active Shooter Program Coordinator will discuss how they oversee and prevent any inconsistencies and how they interact with and advise department command staff on topics of Active Shooter. Topics will include how in 2014, with class sizes in excess of 60 students, Memphis Police certified over 2300 officers from 18 different jurisdictions in ALERRT Lv1 in only 8 months, how we conduct LV1 training as part of our police academy and our process of conducting ongoing refresher training with a 2400 officer agency. Additionally , will discuss our agencies ASIM training program. The primary emphases is placed on how to take your CRASE program to the next level by tailoring the training to your community, providing multiagency drills around your jurisdiction involving the community, and conducting security assessments for organizations. We will discuss the need to be proactive with engaging the community in your program and meeting their needs, vs only holding open to the public sessions to merely satisfy our needs and how we manage almost 40 CRASE instructors to accomplish all this. Discussion will include the use of various media outlets and interacting with local news media to leverage your CRASE program. We will also discuss the obstacles encountered when creating our Rescue Task Force concept and integrating dispatchers into all the aspects of your training program. Will also discuss the creation of a formal Active Shooter policy and plan is critical for your agency and what was included in that process.

The National Fire Protection Association Standard, NFPA 3000TM, Standard for an Active Shooter / Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program, 2021 edition

sets forth requirements for communities to establish a unified planning, response, and recovery program — long before a perpetrator strikes. The four main components of the standard are as follows:

  •  Whole Community – realizing that these incidents affect all aspects of a community so it is imperative to work together to reduce risk and optimize safety

  •  Unified Command – prioritizing a unified command structure that considers scenarios, authorities, roles, responsibilities, and communications with all key stakeholders involved in the process

  •  Integrated Response – identifying organizational operations, incorporating the objectives of these agencies, and practicing integrated response together as a cohesive, well-connected unit

  •  Planned Recovery – establishing a recovery strategy (immediate, early, and long-term) that is well-defined and turn-key for implementation

This program is designed to provide basic information on response tactics when dealing with special needs students during an active threat incident: to include recognition, pre-planning techniques, and working with teachers/schools to implement pre-attack response protocols. The presentation will include a combination of basic autism and special needs recognition for first responders, along with more specific recommendations for handling these students during an active threat incident and pre-coordinating a response with the school district teachers and staff who work with these students on a daily basis. The presentation also includes information for teachers, educators, and other school staff on preparation and planning methods as well as response tactics.

Coined as the “second disaster”, the lack of critical incident recovery strategies and planning has far reaching implications. These include increased liability to the agency, losing trust of the community, increased stress and trauma to employees, disruption of services, and a potential workforce reduction within the Law Enforcement Agency. Understanding how to recover from these incidents is paramount to the future success of the organization. This training explores the impacts that Active Shooter events and other critical incidents have on the officer, the agency and the community it serves. By developing a framework that creates a culture of internal and external resilience: “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties”, attendees will receive tools, plans and solutions to mitigate these negative effects. Accomplished by the use of case studies and lessons learned, attendees will be empowered with tools and a plan to build resilience within their agency and their community.

Active Shooter Incidents: A Twenty Year Review

Presented by John Skillestad and Lauren Taflinger

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Violence Reduction Unit will present a review of Active Shooter data spanning the last twenty years since Columbine, with a focus on trend analysis, pivotal incidents, and lessons learned. Possible trends for review may include: gender analysis, weapon use over time, incident resolutions over time, incident locations, and total number on incidents.