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"Response to Active Assailants in Large Buildings and High-Rises"

Based on specific requests from federal agencies, this course examines public safety response to the active assailant inside high-rises and large buildings. Many active assailant events occur in large buildings; however, much fewer occur in high-rises. Attacks in large buildings and high-rises have very unique challenges and considerations for public safety responders.

In high-rise attacks, it is critical for responders to quickly determine if they are in an active shooter event or a criminal sniper event. In an active shooter event, the perpetrator is typically moving about, accessing and shooting more victims. In many cases, the perpetrator will conduct close-range gunshots. In a criminal sniper event, the perpetrator is usually separated by distance and cover from their victims. In a criminal sniper event, the perpetrator is typically in a fixed and fortified position.

There are multiple notable active assailant high-rises events. This presentation will cover the 1966 University of Texas clocktower event, the 1982 Detroit Bulh Building attack, the 1993 San Francisco 101 California Street high-rise attack, the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the 2017 Las Vegas attack, the 2017 Bronx-Lebanon Hospital attack, the 2018 Long Beach (CA) housing center attack, and the 2019 Nairobi attacks. Each of these attacks provide specific learning points for public safety responders. 

This presentation focuses on the five different aspects of a high-rise counter-response: including response considerations, entry considerations, vertical transit considerations, assault considerations, and victim rescue considerations.

The presentation will then examine large building characteristics. Some of these include tunnels, skybridges, underground roads, SCIFs, maintenance access, and more. Several examples are provided, showing the complexities of large buildings, SCIF breaching requirements, rapid movement inside large buildings, and complexities with service tunnels. Many public safety responders fail to realize how many buildings in their area likely have these characteristics.

The presentation will examine lessons learned from several large building attacks; including, the 2013 D.C. Navy Yard, the 2019 Virginia Municipal Building, the 2020 Korat, Thailand Terminal 21, and the 2021 FedEx Indianapolis hub shooting. Each of these events had unique characteristics and lessons learned for public safety commanders.

This presentation will then discuss multiple considerations for tactics and response. These considerations include ballistic capability, controlling doors and stairwells, use of shields, up-armoring vehicles, door marking for searches, use of CS/OC gas, breaching considerations, use of canines, explosive considerations, and more. In addition, the presenter will discuss incident command considerations, including co-location of command, use of “Dirtbox” technology, cellphone jamming, use of UAVs and more.

Last, this presentation will focus on tactical emergency medical services considerations (TEMS) for large buildings and high-rises. These considerations include command, triage, patient extraction, and more. Multiple standard TEMS techniques may not work in large buildings and high-rises.


If you would like more information on booking this course, please email, or call 1-800-231-9106.


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