First Responder

The Department of Homeland Security provides products, tools, and resources to help first responders and law enforcement prepare for and respond to an active shooter incident.

Active Shooter Resources for Law Enforcement and Trainers

  • Progress Report on the President’s Executive Actions to Help Reduce Gun Violence: The Obama Administration released a progress report detailing the completion of our significant progress on 21 of the 23 executive actions President Obama laid out in January to help reduce gun violence, including fact sheets and guides to help develop high-quality emergency operations plans for K-12 schools, institutions of higher education and houses of worship.
  • Primer to Design Safe School Projects in Case of Terrorist Attacks and School Shootings: The purpose of this primer is to provide the design community and school administrators with the basic principles and techniques to make a school safe from terrorist attacks and school shootings and at the same time ensure it is functional and aesthetically pleasing, and meets the needs of the students, staff, administration, and general public.
  • The Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) and Active Shooter Web Portal: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has launched a Countering Violent Extremism and Active Shooter (CVE-AS) Web Portal on the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN). The purpose is to provide videos and training resources, as well as a document library with information and resources, covering numerous CVE and AS topics. It provides a forum for the exchange of Unclassified FOUO, SBU, and LES information to sworn, full-time, law enforcement officers (federal, state, or local); federal employees affiliated with the criminal justice system or intelligence communities; military personnel; and government agencies associated with infrastructure protection of the United States. The CVE-AS Web Portal also shares Unclassified FOUO or SBU information with private sector partners, civilian security personnel, corporate executives, educational institutions/academia, international partners, community leaders, and other state and local partners, as appropriate. In addition, the portal includes information on outreach initiatives and subject matter experts; and forums to provide feedback, share products, and ask questions.
  • Planning and Response to an Active Shooter: An Interagency Security Committee Policy and Best Practices Guide: This document outlines new policy requirements for all nonmilitary federal facilities within in the Executive Branch of the government and provides guidance for all who might be involved, including law enforcement agencies, facility tenants, and the public.
  • Making Prevention a Reality: Identifying, Assessing, and Managing the Threat of Targeted Attacks: This report, a practical guide on assessing and managing the threat of targeted violence, contains concrete strategies to help communities prevent attacks like mass shootings and other targeted attacks.
  • Don't be a Puppet: Pull Back the Curtain of Violent Extremism: This FBI interactive website leads viewers through a series of games and tips in order to teach what methods a radical group might use to recruit them.
  • The following two studies conducted by the FBI are intended to provide a baseline to guide federal, state, tribal, and campus law enforcement along with other first responders, corporations, educators, and the general public to a better understanding of active shooter incidents and not intended to explore all facets of active shooter incidents.

Active Shooter Training Provided by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC)

Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) provides in-depth training for credentialed law enforcement professionals regarding response to mass consequence events – such as criminal acts, terrorist attacks, other large-scale emergencies -- and tactical medical skills for responding officers. All FLETC courses can be found in the FLETC Online Course Catalog.

FLETC’s State, Local and Tribal Division can assist law professionals with their training requests regarding this and other training opportunities.

DHS Science and Technology's First Responders Group

The DHS Science and Technology Directorate's First Responders Group (FRG) pursues a better understanding of the response community's needs and requirements, provides technical assistance, and develops innovations to the most pressing challenges faced during day-to-day and large-scale emergencies.

Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) is a virtual training platform, available now to all response agencies nationwide. Built on the Unreal Engine, it allows responders of all disciplines to assume discipline-based avatars and simultaneously role-play complex response scenarios. Scenarios incorporate law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, dispatch, and unified commands together to combat an active shooter.

Victims Assistance

Office for Victims of Crime: “A comprehensive preparedness and security program should consider methods to support victims following an incident. There are a multitude of federal resources that assist in promoting justice and healing for victims. For example, the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) helps communities prepare for, and respond to, victims of mass violence events – including an active shooter incident – with checklists, a compendium of resources, and other pertinent victim-related materials with the Mass Violence Toolkit. Additionally, OVC provides free training and technical assistance on its toolkit to public and non-profit entities. Finally, OVC provides the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit, which enhances individuals and organizations’ understanding of the impacts of vicarious trauma, and how to locate tools to help strengthen agency response.

"How to Respond" Resources

DHS has developed a series of materials to assist businesses, government offices, and schools in preparing for and responding to an active shooter. These resources include a detailed booklet, a desk reference guide, a reference poster, and a pocket-size reference card. DHS has also developed both a Recovery Guide, and an Incident Fact Sheet to assist your organization as you consider the recovery phase of an event.

Issues covered in the active shooter resources include:

  • Profile of an active shooter
  • Responding to an active shooter or other workplace violence situation
  • Training for an active shooter situation and creating an emergency action plan
  • Tips for recognizing signs of potential workplace violence

Active Shooter Resources

Security of Soft Targets and Crowded Places Resource Guide

Segments of our society are inherently open to the general public, and by nature of their purpose do not incorporate strict security measures. Given the increased emphasis by terrorists and other extremist actors to leverage less sophisticated methods to inflict harm in public areas, it is vital that the public and private sectors collaborate to enhance security of locations such as transportation centers, parks, restaurants, shopping centers, special event venues, and similar facilities. The Security of Soft Targets and Crowded Places Resource Guide is a catalog of IP soft target resources, many of which were created in collaboration with our partners to ensure they are useful and reflective of the dynamic environment we live in.

Active Assailant Security Resources

The following active assailant action guides provide the critical infrastructure community with information regarding attack vectors used by terrorists and other extremist actors as well as corresponding suggested protective measures. The “Mass Gatherings: Take Charge of Your Personal Safety” action guide increases the general public’s understanding of the immediate actions that can be taken during an incident to mitigate its impact. This action guide can also serve as a poster for the critical infrastructure community to use during events.

Vehicle Ramming Attack Mitigation

Vehicle Ramming Attack Mitigation Video

The video provides information to assist with mitigating the evolving threat corresponding to vehicle ramming incidents with insightful technical analysis from public and private sector subject matter experts. It leverages real-world events, and provides recommendations aimed at protecting organizations as well as individuals against a potential vehicle ramming incident.



Partners in Prevention: Vehicle Rentals and Vehicle Ramming

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security—in coordination with the Truck Renting and Leasing Association and the American Car Rental Association—have released a short training video to help vehicle rental employees identify suspicious activities and behavior by customers who may wish to use a rented vehicle for nefarious purposes.

Pathway to Violence

Pathway to Violence Video

The "Pathway to Violence" video provides information regarding the behavior indicators that assailants often demonstrate before a violent act. Behavior experts reference research conducted by Frederick Calhoun and Steve Weston’s on threat management and further describes the six progressive steps that may be observable by colleagues. The video also includes law enforcement expert interviews that discuss engagement strategies and recommended responses to someone potentially on a pathway to violence.

Download the printer-friendly Pathway to Violence fact sheet that explains warning signs that may lead to violence and what individuals can do to mitigate a potential incident.

Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan

The Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan Guide supplements the Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan Video. Together, they create a virtual training tool designed to help develop an organization’s Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan.

The Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan Video describes the fundamental concepts of developing an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for an active shooter scenario. This instructive video guides viewers through important considerations of EAP development utilizing the first-hand perspectives of active shooter survivors, first responder personnel, and other subject matter experts who share their unique insight.

The Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan Template is a fillable form useful in documenting an organization’s Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan.

Emergency Action Planning Trailer

The Active Shooter Emergency Action Planning (EAP) video is a comprehensive active shooter preparedness, response, and recovery resource that utilizes interviews with first responders, survivors of active shooter events, and other subject matter experts to capture best practices and lessons learned. This video trailer gives an overview of how the Active Shooter Emergency Action Planning (EAP) video combines state-of-threat awareness with state-of-practice solutions that will empower you to build resilience for your community, organization, family, and home.

Contact Information

To get more information on the active shooter preparedness program, please send an email to

In case of an emergency, or to report suspicious activity or events, call 9-1-1 or contact your local law enforcement.

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