Lessons Learned

The drills and planning Orlando Health has done on a regular basis saved lives that fateful day. And, the relationships that our team had established over the years with community partners such as the Hispanic Chamber and LGBTQ community specifically set us up for success since the majority of the Pulse victims were Hispanic or LGBTQ. Other community partners such as the regional blood bank, One Blood, and the City of Orlando government helped us coordinate communication on resources available to the victims’ families, team members, the community at large and others affected. So, in short, building strong relationships with local community partners, chambers, elected officials and city government is crucial. You just never know when you’ll need these partners on your side.

Secondly, if the philanthropic arm of your organization, such as community relations and the foundation, do not have a seat at the table in the crisis management plan, you will find yourself scrambling and a part of the crisis instead of the solution. Work with your volunteer services department as well as internal communication and media relations teams to have a coordinated response to requests that will soon follow the tragedy. These can range from celebrity visits to victims and specialized professions offering services to food deliveries and get well cards from local schools.