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Poll call: Majority say their agency is understaffed and undertrained for an MCI

In the wake of three deadly MCIs in November, only 11% of poll respondents said their agency is fully staffed and trained for a mass casualty incident


Jamaal Ellis/Houston Chronicle via AP

In a recent EMS1 poll, we asked, “Do you feel your agency is adequately staffed and trained to respond to a mass casualty incident?”

Of those who responded, 53% said their agency was understaffed and undertrained for a potential mass casualty situation. Only 11% said their organization was fully staffed and prepared for an MCI. Additionally:

  • 25% said they were understaffed, but not undertrained; and
  • 11% said they were undertrained, but not understaffed.

The results follow a deadly November in which three mass casualty situations left 18 people dead and hundreds injured in three states.


Astroworld festival

On Nov. 5, nine people were killed and hundreds injured during rapper Travis Scott’s set during the Astroworld festival in Houston. A 10th victim died on Nov. 14.

Remington Richardson, a paramedic contracted by ParaDocs to work the event, described a chaotic scene with overwhelmed providers.

“On my hike back into the crowd with my crash bag, at the halfway point, I find another medic performing CPR,” he said in a three-part viral Tik Tok video series after the incident. “I get down and I’m like, ‘Hey dude, where’s your partner, what’s going on?’ and he’s like, ‘I don’t know man, I just saw this person with no pulse and no breathing, and I just started CPR, I don’t know how I’m going to get them out.’”


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Event planning best practices

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

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Astroworld medic slams understaffed, undertrained EMS rumors on TikTok

In a series of three videos, TikTok user described the chaotic scene first responders encountered trying to reach concert victims

Waukesha Christmas parade

On Nov. 21, six people were killed and more than 60 were injured when a man in an SUV drove through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Ten children required ICU treatment due to their injuries.

A bystander recalled the gruesome scene: “There were small children laying all over the road. There were police officers and EMTs doing CPR on multiple members of the parade.”

astroworld concert

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7 ways to be prepared before the mass gathering turns into an MCI

Review how your own community prepares for special events for these essential elements

Oxford High School shooting

On Nov. 30, three high school students were killed when a 15-year-old sophomore at the school opened fire on his classmates. A fourth student died the next day.


Read more:

7 ways to be prepared before the mass gathering turns into an MCI

Review how your own community prepares for special events for these essential elements

Additional resources on Mass Casualty Incidents

Check out these additional links related to MCI planning, training and preparedness:

Rachel Engel is an award-winning journalist and the senior editor of and In addition to her regular editing duties, Engel seeks to tell the heroic, human stories of first responders and the importance of their work. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and began her career as a freelance writer, focusing on government and military issues. Engel joined Lexipol in 2015 and has since reported on issues related to public safety. Engel lives in Wichita, Kansas. She can be reached via email.