The dynamics of a vehicular attack are remarkably similar to that of an active shooter attack. There is a level of mental readiness that must be instilled into our communities for all types of attacks, and as emergency managers, it’s increasingly important to educate the public, as well as have well-thought-out and practiced plans to respond. No one and no place is immune from an attack, but while an attacker may decide if we will be a target, ultimately, we get to decide whether to be a victim.
Steven M. Crimando, MA, BCETS, CHS-V, details how the best laid out emergency response plans rests on four pillars: planning, pre-event reconnaissance, on-site situational awareness, and communication, in this free on-demand webinar. He walks through lifesaving best practices that can ensure that your organization is properly prepared to keep its employees safe. You can download the replay here to watch at your leisure. Below is the robust Q&A Steve entertained following the webinar.
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Q&A With Our Speaker
In cases of police or security responding to such incidences do you support a change in use of force policies to permit shooting at such threats?
- I’ll give you my opinion and then I’ll tell you kind of where we are. After a number of different events, NYC has actually have given permission to officers to shoot into a moving vehicle if it seems clear to them that it’s a vehicular attack. I actually support that, but it obviously means that officers and security forces need to train for that, not everyone does. Think about what training is like for most officers and how we qualify. Shooting into a moving vehicle is a lot of different dynamics, it’s not just to the vehicles moving it’s how you shoot through glass, it’s how you would handle that situation. I have to tell you and this is purely my opinion, yes I do, as a practitioner support the idea.
Do you see a significant advantage to facilities that use armed security at large venues where the potential for terrorist attacks are higher, when attacks do occur. Does armed security lower the risk of a secondary attack or is there no significant change?
- My opinion would be that I could only imagine that it would help suppress the potential for a secondary attack because the attacker has to imagine that he’ll be engaged by armed security forces or law enforcement that much more quickly which would limit his ability to have a larger body count. I think it would have a deterrent effect. I don’t know that it has a total deterrent effect because it may. Depending on where security posts are or law enforcement is posted, the vehicle may still have a pretty good run at the crowd before they actually are engaged by armed personnel. Whether the personnel is shooting into the vehicle or whether the attacker has exited the vehicle and now we have force on force encounter.
Do these same tips and tricks work in any country and area? Elaborate on any cultural differences you see from country to country or region to region in terms of how people respond or even how they’re targeted?
- My feeling is yes, they should because we’re talking about some very basic human behavior and some guidance we could give people. Will all of them work? Not dead sure about that that yet. But I think they’re certainly worth introducing to the population in those places. There is some cultural variance. I mean you have to think of a lot of different countries and some of these might be Europeans some of these might be South America, Latin America and some African as well. Certainly, some in Asia where you have the prevalence of a lot more outdoor markets where a lot more shopping is done in these crowded outdoor areas, but a lot of these variables are soft.
Why does the US normally not refer to mass violent events as domestic terrorism? What difference does this make in the reactions of different people?
- The bottom line is that we should make a difference in how we individually, organizationally and as a community need to prepare for it because of the locality of the attack is kind of the same regardless of what we call it. There are no laws around “domestic terrorism.” Terrorism laws circle around the idea that it’s coming from foreign actors, and initiated by a foreign source. Regardless of the language of the law, the thing that defines terrorism to me is an ideology. I don’t think it should matter in terms of how we plan and how we prepare because the end result is casualties and casualties through these common means that we can defend against.