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TIGTA Assesses IRS’s Active Shooter Preparedness and Training

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
May 19, 2023

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has released a report on the IRS's efforts to institute an active shooter situation response program that aligns with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines.

The IRS’s “Run, Hide, Fight” training program is given to both employees and contractors to offer comprehensive information on IRS security policies, procedures and actions they should take to prepare for and respond to potential security incidents and emergencies. 

“The rise in active shooter incidents across the United States and the increased hostilities directed at Federal agencies make it important for IRS leaders to develop a plan and train their staff on best practices to help keep themselves safe during an active threat situation,” the report read.

The report cites a September incident at the IRS’s Memphis Campus that demonstrated the need for the tax agency to improve its preparedness and readiness for an active shooter situation.

“While the report of an active shooter ultimately turned out to be unfounded, our discussions with some managers on-site the day of the incident indicated there was a lot of confusion with opportunities for the IRS to improve its preparedness,” it read, stating that “the IRS missed the opportunity to conduct a significant after-action assessment of [the] event, which would have helped identify shortcomings in its mass notification messaging and post-incident accounting for staff.”

TIGTA also stated that additional actions are needed to ensure that contractors are aware of security protocols.

TIGTA made five recommendations to the chief of facilities management and security services, which included ensuring that action is taken if contractors do not timely complete security briefings, and mandating that policies be updated to require after-action reports of active shooter drills or events to assess the efficacy of the response. Further, IRS officials need to update the annual security briefing to emphasize that employees need to discuss emergency preparedness with their managers annually. Also, IRS officials need to formally stipulate and agree on when and how AtHoc (the IRS emergency alert notification system) will be used to notify staff of active shooter events and how it will be used post-event to account for staff.

The IRS agreed with all the recommendations.

“We appreciate your report acknowledging the IRS developed an active shooter training program that educates employees on the 'Run, Hide, Fight' response that aligns with the Department of Homeland Security guidelines for dealing with an active shooter situation,” wrote Richard Rodriguez, chief of facilities management and security services at the IRS. He added that the recommendations would assist its efforts to enhance emergency preparedness, Accounting Today reported.

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