EMS Tips

Tucson Mass Shooting – some More thoughts on MCI Response

Last week I wrote a post on my thoughts about the MCI response to the Tucson Mass Shooting. I continue to think about this event and read more about the EMS coverage.

Recommended Reading: EMS Response to the Tucson Shootings from

What Was Done Well

In my experience debriefs and after action reviews quickly focus on the errors and problems. Instead much of the effort and time should focus on What Went Well. Focus your reading and analysis on what went well. Next, try to identify important lessons learned that might help you respond to a mass shooting.


At this incident there was no:

  • fire to extinguish
  • patients to extricate from a collapsed structure, vehicle, rubble pile, or confined space
  • active shooter to neutralize
  • devices to defuse
  • hazmat to confine and control

This was an EMS only MCI. As such I think this incident deserves the thorough attention and careful review of EMS professionals. The shooter was neutralized by bystanders as he was preparing to reload (at least that is what I understand from my reading) and was being pinned to the ground until law enforcement arrived. The patients were in a dense grouping.

Thus our after action/arm-chair analysis can solely be focused on the EMS response without any EMS could have/would have/should have but since we had to wait for fire or law enforcement.

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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.