News and Events

Orlando Active Shooter Will Cause EMS to Level Up for Active Shooter Response

Today’s mass shooting and terrorism incident in Orlando is an immediate and likely an ongoing incident for all EMTs and paramedics to learn from and contemplate.

My rapid reaction …

What happened: A single gunman with an assault rifle killed 50 people and injured dozens more at Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando early Sunday morning. Surgeons expect the death toll, already the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, to climb because of the severity of patient injuries. The shooter’s father told NBC news that his son, Omar Mateen, recently became very angry after seeing two men kissing.

Why it’s significant: Paramedics, alongside firefighters and police officers, once again, find themselves on the frontlines of terror and chaos in an American city. The targeted victims — more than 300 people in a gay night club — represent an identifiable, non-random category congregated at a relatively soft target. Previous mass shooters have targeted churchgoers, college students, and elementary school teachers and children.

Top takeaways: Each time a mass shooter strikes EMS leaders and field personnel need to reassess their individual and agency preparedness for a similar incident in their community. In the days ahead we will learn more about the incident, the response of Orlando police and fire departments, and the heroic actions of bystanders and responders to save lives. Meanwhile, here are three immediate considerations for active shooter incident response.

Read the full story on EMS1: Rapid reaction: Responders need to level-up to match lethal capability of mass shooters 

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.