Lessons Learned

Margeson: I’ve been directly involved in a great many emergency-management situations throughout my career, and “communications” is always one of the top, critical issues identified during all the debriefings. Even though first responders work tirelessly to develop tactics and strategies to overcome communication shortcomings during emergencies, they still persist. I’ve come to believe that many of the communications problems typically encountered can be minimized through training and equipment investments, but they can never be eliminated. For example, you can plan for a hurricane, but you must react to a tornado. In the event of the latter, humans simply react to horrific, fast-breaking and ever-changing situations, and I’ve never witnessed training with that level of reality.

 

Security’s biggest issue after the Pulse shootings was dealing with the enormous command and control issues brought about by the media, well-meaning community partners, visiting political leaders from all levels of government, family and friends of the victims, and the general outpouring of sympathy from a large cross-section of the community. For 10 days after the event, we were literally overwhelmed with the challenges associated with a wide range of crowd-control situations better known as visitor management. Hospitals are not designed to keep people out, so shifting gears and changing our security model on the fly was quite the challenge.