Why Acadian CEO’s La. shooting debrief video hit all the right notes

EMS providers should expect from their leaders a detailed and compassionate after-action summary like this one

Acadian Ambulance got a lot of things right in the response to the shooting at the Lafayette, La. movie theater active-shooter incident. Much of what was known about the shooting, the condition of the victims, and the response to the incident in the immediate aftermath came from Acadian personnel. A day later we learned even more about the incident in an after action recap or debrief video from Richard Zuschlag, chairman and CEO of Acadian Ambulance. 

The level of detail that Acadian was able to gather and share, such as response times and actions of individual personnel, is unprecedented for a major incident. They have every right to be proud of what they accomplished and should be commended for sharing. 

Here are three things that really stood out to me in the video and might be a script for your agency to follow when it is beginning to review and recover from a major incident. 

1. Focus on successes
Many times Zuschlag uses “pride” or “proud” to discuss the response. He recounts the immediate response from a nearby supervisor, medics making entry (a rescue task force) with law enforcement to assess and triage patients, and the selection of transport destinations. 

Zuschlag also recognizes that the successes are more than just five crews, transporting nine patients in less than 30 minutes. “Thank you everyone from dispatch, operations, off-duty employees and support staff who responded and helped,” Zuschlag said. “Everyone did what they are trained to do.” 

2. Personalize the response 
The EMS accomplishments are personalized with the names of the people that responded, yet the explanations are broadly applicable to a layperson audience. Zuschlag gives a glimpse of Lafayette, the fourth largest city in La., and defines the Louisiana Emergency Response Network and its purpose. 

3. Look forward
For some responders this incident may be a defining moment in their career. Zuschlag encourages employees to ask for help and recognizes that this tragedy has the possibility to impact people for some time to come. 

The weeks and months after the incident are the time for not only Acadian leaders, but other EMS leaders to critique the response, question policies, and procure new equipment. Part of that critique is recognizing that any community is vulnerable. Three years to the week after the Aurora Colo. theater shooting every EMS leader needs to prepare their organization for an active shooter at any unsecure, mass gathering location. 

This is a Special Edition of the Employee Owner Update from Acadian Companies on Vimeo.

This is a Special Edition of the Employee Owner Update

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