What are the 6 Imperatives of Incident Command During an Active Shooter Event?

What are the 6 Imperatives of Incident Command During an Active Shooter Event?

As a ballistic armor company, ShotStop® understands the seriousness and importance of providing factual information and products that back up our claims. We’ve written a lot about active shooters lately because organizations, such as ALERRT, C3 Pathways, and the F.B.I. are asking first responders to do more in these horrific situations. 

According to the F.B.I. and C3 Pathways, there are 6 imperatives that first responders need to do to improve the survivability of victims and limit the continuation of murder. This blog will educate first responders on what to do during an active shooter situation and how body armor will help them survive these events.

What is the 1st Thing a First Responder Needs to Do as They Arrive on Scene?

In an active shooter event, the most important step to take is for the first supervisor to take immediate command of the event (Incident Commander). It’s like the old business saying goes “time is money”. In this case, time is everything because most events are done within a few minutes of the start of the attack. 

To make things more clear, the first responding officers are instructed to confront the situation and stop the killing. The first law enforcement supervisor on the scene will become the Incident Commander (IC). The faster the IC sets up and issues commands, the more likely chance that lives are saved and the shooter is dealt with. 

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The second law enforcement supervisor on the scene will take control and become the IC, delegating the first IC to make decisions in the Danger Zone (hot zone for EMS/Fire). For clarification, the Danger Zone is the area that the shooting is occurring, such as a business or inside a school. This allows the first IC to use his/her knowledge of the situation to confront the shooter and secure the Danger Zone. 

The role of the second IC is to take a broader view of the situation and communicate directly with dispatch, EMS, and Fire personnel. The first IC will be responsible for clearing the Danger Zone and the Second IC will dispatch medical personnel and any further law enforcement needed. 

What are the 6 Imperatives of Incident Command? 

According to the F.B.I. and C3 Pathways, there are 6 things that are imperative to Incident Commanders as they arrive on the scene of an active shooter event. Once the IC’s take control of the situation, lives will be saved if they’re able to follow the guidelines issued by the F.B.I. and C3 Pathways. 


The first Imperative is to determine if the situation is an active event or if the shooter has stopped. The IC must determine where the Danger Zone is at and then tell everyone, immediately. This is imperative because there can be a lot of misinformation pertaining to the location of the shooter, resulting in first responders not knowing where to go. Misinformation undoubtedly always results in more innocent lives lost. IC must inform everyone of the location and status of the shooting!



The second imperative is to establish a mobile command center away from the Danger Zone. A mobile command allows the IC to maneuver around the Danger Zone to ensure time is not lost if the situation evolves and the shooter moves his/her location. 

According to ALERRT, 51% of Active Shooter Events (ACE) result in police interdiction. If the shooter is still moving, the Danger Zone will move and might interfere with the incident command center. The ability to be mobile is imperative to both stopping the killing and the dying by being more versatile. 


If response times are quick, the second IC will be the one to establish a staging area. Looking at a broader view of the event, the IC will need to establish a staging area for all units, including medical, tactical, and transportation units. 

The most important step for establishing a staging area is ensuring there is only one location away from the Danger Zone and in a safe location. Once a staging area is established the IC can focus on distributing his/her forces as necessary. 


No matter if the incident is an active shooter or a burning house, a perimeter must be established as quickly as possible. This is important for so many reasons, but mostly to ensure the Danger Zone is contained and the shooter doesn’t get the chance to hurt more people. 

There are two types of perimeters that must be established; inner and outer. The inner perimeter is going to be drawn directly around the Danger Zone, while the Outer Perimeter is going further away to prevent any on-lookers or media members from being hit by stray bullets or interfering with the incident. A good IC will delegate tasks to each unit and provide the necessary resources for them to do their job (barriers, tape, vehicles, etc…). 

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Depending on the situation, there will be a need for more resources than you initially have at your disposal. Once a perimeter is established, it’s imperative that the IC determine if any additional resources are needed. For example, if there are multiple shooters and all you have is a few patrolmen, request SWAT to intervene.

 If there are more victims than there are ambulances, request additional vehicles for transportation. Time is everything for victims bleeding from gunshot wounds, so resources must be requested ASAP. To be on the safe side, it’s always better to have more resources at the ready than it would be to have not enough.


When I was in the military, one of the biggest concerns was friendly fire, especially in crowded areas during night operations. This is the same for police because once bullets are flying and people are dying, the adrenaline rush can cloud your thought process. The last thing you want to happen is for one tactical unit to go through the back while the other goes through the front and have them shoot each other amid the chaos. 

Maintaining accountability is imperative to the success of these events and ensures there are no blue-on-blue confrontations. The easiest way to maintain accountability is to communicate with each unit before and after they enter the Danger Zone. If the responding officers know there are other officers inside the Danger Zone, friendly-fire incidents are less likely to occur. 

How Can ShotStop® Help First Responders?

ShotStop® is dedicated to protecting those heroes that protect their communities. As we’ve stated in our previous blog, Active Shooter Response | EMS & Fire Responsibilities, the federal government, and relative organizations are requiring hard armor to be worn in ACE. If you’re going to risk your life to protect members of your community, you deserve to wear the best possible armor available. 

Body armor by nature is not the most comfortable thing to wear, especially when you have a full-duty belt, rifle, and emergency medical gear. ShotStop® is dedicated to providing body armor that eliminates the stigma of heavy, thick, and uncomfortable hard armor plates. We know that when officers decide whether to wear armor or not, they will most likely choose not to wear armor if it’s too heavy. This is where ShotStop® comes into play because our hard plate armor is the lightest, thinnest, and most comfortable body armor in the world. 

Duritium® III+PA Body Armor Plates

Typically, hard armor plates are either Level 3 or Level 4 in accordance with the NIJ. We never want officers to think twice about wearing ballistic armor in an ACE. We create our Duritium® Level III+PA plate with speed and mobility in mind. At ShotStop® we say what we mean and mean what we say. There is no hyperbole in saying the Duritium® Level III+PA plate is the world’s fastest stand-alone rifle plate. 

The Duritium® Level III+PA plate is only 2.7 lbs per plate and is only 0.7” thick for a lower profile than any other hard plate and many soft armor inserts. We provide versatility with two separate cuts; Shooter’s Cut and SAPI Cut. If you’re looking for more maneuverability, the Shooter’s Cut provides optimal space for your arms to move freely without any interference from the armor. Our Level III+PA plate will stop anything up to a 7.62x51mm 149 grain M80 FMJ with multiple hits.


We understand that there are many companies that offer Polyethylene plates in both Level III and Level IV. We will never talk bad about another company, but there is no other company on the planet that offers the peace of mind that ShotStop® offers. 

ShotStop® offers an industry-leading 15-year warranty on all of our Level III plates because we know we’re better. The average warranty is only 5 years, which means you’ll have to replace our competitors' armor 3x as fast as our Duritium® technology. 

ShotStop® has centered our entire business around two very important ideals; integrity and transparency. All of our plates come with the actual letter of compliance from the NIJ to ensure our customers that the armor will do exactly what we say it will do. 

Not only will you get the lightest, thinnest, and most versatile body armor, but we offer incredible deals for first responder organizations that buy for their entire department. We know that public servants don’t have large budgets, so we will work with any organization in the country to ensure you’re outfitted with the best available technology to date. 

Contact our sales team at sales@shotstop.com with any questions or order information.

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