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Adding Mass Shootings to Your Hazards List

They are common enough that mass shootings should be listed.

214 mass shootings so far in 2022. A mass shooting is defined as four or more people being shot.

There have been roughly 581 tornadoes so far in 2022. There are fewer deaths from tornadoes than from mass shootings.

So, get your “human-caused disaster list” out and add “mass shootings” to the list. Don’t write this off as just a law enforcement issue. As noted in a news report I heard, the Texas Division of Emergency Management has been called upon to help respond to the latest elementary school shooting in Texas.

Beyond adding the hazard to the list, get together with your public, private and nonprofit partners to game out what you will do collectively to respond to the aftermath of a mass shooting. Emergency management is ideally suited to help with the coordination that is needed immediately following a shooting. It is not all just guns and shell casings that have to be dealt with by crime scene investigators.

Some of the most common things that come to mind include:

  • Mental health counseling
  • Hotline for calls about the event
  • Donations center
  • Support for survivors
  • A joint information center (JIC) to support all the media requests
  • Temporary and permanent memorials
  • Memorial services

Listen to this Disaster Zone podcast, “The 2017 Las Vegas Mass Shooting,” an interview with the Las Vegas Emergency Management director about everything they became involved with in that incident.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.