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Newtown school shooting: My instinct is to hug my kids harder today

How will you respond when your community needs you in its darkest moment?


AP Photo
Firefighters and families gather at a staging area following the shooting.

I struggled with the Newtown school shooting news this morning. First — how awful it is for the community, and especially for the parents of the children who were murdered for no reason other than being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

While my children are grown, my instinct is to hug them a little harder, and a little longer today.

Second — my heart goes out to the EMS providers who had to respond to this awful event. I have no doubt that the scene was chaotic and that there was clear and present danger for much of the time.

Looking at the video footage, there’s no surprise that numerous agencies had to suddenly work long and hard together to mitigate the disaster.

Third — the effects of this tragedy will be significant for many of the responders, for some time to come.

I call out to the local EMS community to provide support to those affected responders who will need your help in the weeks and months to come.

Last — I know that many of us in leadership positions dread having to work on disaster and mass casualty response plans.

The tabletops and drills are a lot of work. If events like these don’t motivate you to make sure your organization is capable of responding to these types of “unexpected” mass events, I’m not sure what will.

Violence can, and will happen anywhere — it knows no boundaries. How will you respond when your community needs you in its darkest moment?

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of “EMT Exam for Dummies,” has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.