How I Heard

On June 13, 2016, the day after the Pulse tragedy, the Central Florida community and, quite frankly, the nation showed an outpouring of support, love and generosity. People were trying any way they could to make sense of the tragedy, and one way of doing so was to give back in any way they thought would be useful.

While the response and intentions were reflective of the resolve of the human spirit to find good in the face of evil, the quantity and type of resources coming in required the community relations team to take swift action in order to manage them.

Prior to June 12, 2016, the community relations team was not an integral part of the Orlando Health emergency preparedness plan, but we quickly realized that our role in responding to the tragedy was critical for managing the external support. Within a few hours of the victims arriving at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC), a steady stream of calls and emails was flooding the corporate call center and community inbox asking how to volunteer, bring in a pet for comfort, offer specialized services, donate to help the victims’ families and more.

In addition to the calls and emails, palettes of water, food for the trauma team and banners of support from other hospitals began arriving at ORMC. We knew we needed a plan to manage the generosity of our community and the nation, while working under the guidelines of the FBI and Homeland Security. Within 24 hours of the Pulse shooting, the teams from community relations, volunteer and guest services and the foundation had joined efforts to create a protocol and respond quickly and appropriately.