EMS rose to the occasion after theater massacre

Training for worst-case scenarios will help keep us from falling apart when we need to be at our best

Editor’s Note:

Editor's note: The response to the Colo. massacre reminds us that we are human as we struggle to make sense of it all.

The Aurora theater mass killing serves as a chilling reminder of how quickly life can change.

No doubt many of us hugged our children a little tighter and reflected a little longer about what this event means in our lives.

The tragedy struck our EMS family as well. On behalf of the EMS1 editorial staff and EMS providers across the country, our condolences and prayers are with the survivors and families of those killed last Friday.

The reports of individual heroism and selfless acts have been surfacing. Many survivors report they were saved by friends and relatives who shielded them from the hail of gunfire. In at least four cases, the protectors died while saving the lives of others.

Professional responders did their jobs well, and in some cases well beyond the call of duty. The dispatcher who facilitated radio traffic during the incident performed her job calmly, taking initiative by sending resources in anticipation of the needs of incident command.

Nevertheless she and others are struggling to make sense of it all, reminding us that we, too, are humans.

Beyond the raw emotions of the incident, the audio clearly reveals the chaos that first responders were facing during the first few moments.

WIth an active shooter still on site, EMS providers had to react quickly to the multiple requests for help from bystanders and police as victims were evacuated from numerous exits to multiple treatment areas.

This event is a crucial reminder to train and prepare for worst-case scenarios continually. That preparation will help keep us from falling apart when we need to be at our best.

About the author

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 Art.Hsieh@ems1.com and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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