Fire and EMS Response to Civil Unrest

Author: Ken Riddle


Public Consulting Group (PCG) is pleased to announce that the US Fire Administration selected our Public Safety Consulting Services (PSCS) team to work with FedWriters to conduct research and analysis on the national impact that recent civil unrest events had on Fire and EMS departments. The purpose of the study will be to inform and educate Fire and EMS personnel regarding the dangers faced by first responders during civil unrest events over the past ten years.

The study will be structured in a manner consistent with other US Fire Administration documents focusing on the planning, preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery efforts undertaken by Fire and EMS departments across the country when dealing with civil unrest events. The document will provide an overview of major civil unrest events and examine specific case studies—such as Portland, OR, Atlanta, GA, and Washington, DC—and how these departments responded to very challenging events.

The case studies will identify unique challenges, situations, and circumstances departments encountered during civil unrest events, as well as identify best practices specific to the following focus areas:

  • The Community
  • The Department
  • Personnel
  • Facilities
  • Apparatus
  • Operations

Our focus in the development of this study is to help elevate awareness in responding to civil unrest events and to improve life safety not only for Fire and EMS personnel, but for citizens and our communities as well. We also want to provide information that will help departments develop strategies, policies, and procedures for protecting apparatus, facilities, and equipment. PSCS also wants to address processes that Fire and EMS departments can employ to help communities heal after the civil unrest event has deescalated.

In order for our team to provide the most informative, relevant, and insightful document for the US Fire Administration, the PSCS team needs assistance and participation from Fire and EMS departments across the country who responded to civil unrest events to share their story and lessons learned. If your Fire/EMS department responded to a civil unrest event and developed an After-Action Report or any policies/procedures that specifically address your personnel, apparatus, facilities, and/or planning/preparation activities for civil unrest events, then please reach out to PSCS research team lead, Retired Deputy Chief Ken Riddle at

Posted by Rachel Ray

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