First responders have long been at the front lines of their communities, working to protect and serve the civilians in their jurisdiction and often putting their lives at risk to do so. This was clear in the weekend's heinous mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where a gunman opened fire on patrons in the early hours of morning. In the hours that transpired following the beginning of the attack, first responders were selfless and resolved in their actions.
"EMS professionals were vital in responding to the Orlando attack."
Carrying the weight
Click Orlando recently reported that the emergency medical services professionals and others involved in rescuing the survivors of the attack entered to a devastating scene, but maintained tight control of their actions nonetheless. Other reports have indicated that roughly 300 individuals were in the club at that the time of the event, with 49 being killed and 50 wounded. This made for a uniquely horrific call to respond to.
"I got reports that early on it was very chaotic," the Orlando Firefighters Union's Ron Glass told Click Orlando. "There seemed to be two separate flows of EMS patients coming out. The initial flow once the incident happened around 2 o'clock in the morning. We had units that were on their way back from the hospital that actually intercepted the call as it was coming out and arrived on scene within seconds."
For first responders, some of the most challenging parts of handling an attack such as this one come after the smoke has cleared and the individuals begin to digest what they have seen, Glass added to the source. He noted that all first responders involved will be monitored to ensure that they are capable of performing in the wake of this tragedy.
"We're going to be keeping a close eye on our guys for the next couple of days to make sure everyone is doing well, behaviorally acting normal and is not impacted," Glass explained, according to the news provider. "A lot of times, with calls like this, you have scenes where guys become – they start getting distracted, lose focus, and it's because they're still processing what they saw on that call."
Support from the community
First responders in Orlando are certainly getting support from their community members and other professionals from across the nation. For example, the Orlando Sentinel reported that civilians in the neighborhood started to bring first responders food and beverages while the event was still transpiring. Additionally, The Press Enterprise reported that first responders in San Bernardino, who themselves saw one of the most violent mass shootings in American history last December, sent their wishes and supportive words to those in Orlando.
Pulling behind first responders, as well as the victims of attacks and their families, can make a community stronger in the long run. Any and all support for first responders in Orlando is welcomed in the coming months, as the city works to heal.