The deliberate hostile activity to cause physical harm or mass killing of a targeted population in places like schools, workplaces, places of worship, public gathering is a Hybrid Targeted Violence (HTV). The places of gathering where people have least option to shield themselves are the preferred locations for an HTV action. The weapons used in this kind of violence may be the conventional firearms or other explosive devices. These incidents of atrocity have multi-threat, and often go against the conventional procedural strategies of the relevant agencies of public safety to initiate a rescue or counter the violence. The initial moments are very lethal for the victims as well as for the first responders before such high-risk associated activity of terrorism. Unlike the scenario of a conventional criminal activity, the HTV against the innocent and defenceless population especially children demand very attentive and timely approach for intervention, because a prompt intervention and timely repression reduces the overall casualty.
Detailed analytical assessment of past HTV incidents that occurred globally are valuable resources for developing better understanding and for shaping the future response strategies to ensure public safety in such occasions. An HTV response depends on the well organized strategies and team work of the public safety agencies. In an unprecedented situation of HT violence an integrated response of police, fire, and emergency medical services can effectively address the hybrid threats to curb the overall loss of property and lives, and a delayed reaction result in subsequent greater casualty.
Instead of individual strategies of the public safety agencies the combined efforts can reduce overall casualty in HTV of no-notice situation. The interagency ties for operational strategies can be developed through pre-event dialogue, planning and training programs. The study of the assault techniques, weapons used in past provides valuable information to develop awareness and defensive strategies for the first responders in impending threats.
Review reports of 1999 mishap of the Columbine High School revealed a lapse due to delayed response to retaliate the violence. Following the incident now the law enforcement policy and training programs adapted a change in counter strategies for the law enforcement and emphasize on the necessity for drastic push back of any ongoing assault to ensure safety of the victims. The HTV events are often beyond the common experience and traditional training of most of the fire fighters and emergency medical service personnel so, a regular learning experience of the first responders are very essential to respond spontaneously in HTV events. Collective changes in fundamental responsibilities across all the functional disciplines are most essential to ensure better rescue operations to minimize the casualty in HTV. The incident in Columbine High School induced the creation of the Rescue Task Force (RTF), a fortified group of trained medical service personnel to reach the injured victims with the access of medical facility in a live situation of HTV incident.
In an advisory published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security in 2012, emphasized on the need for increased vigilance, and joint response strategies across all the functional disciplines. Arlington County have established cooperative emergency services to counter HTV, the United States Fire Administration recognized the necessity to alter their response strategies in a hybrid threat and targeted violence.
Effective response and training programs take considerably long time to develop, but, in the initial moments of HTV, the first responders must spontaneously respond to maximize the life save.
Frazzano, T., & Snyder, G. (2014). Hybrid Targeted Violence: Challenging Conventional “Active Shooter” Response Strategies. Homeland Security Affairs Journal, 10, 1-10.