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Ditch the ‘It can’t happen here’ mindset

Mass-casualty incidents are possible in every coverage area across America. Too often, public safety or local government officials dismiss MCI or large-scale event preparation and training with the simple “That can’t happen here” mindset. They are wrong. An MCI event could be anything from a carbon monoxide leak to a hazmat facility blast to a massive structural collapse like the tragedy in Surfside, Florida. It could also be the result of a natural disaster – a situation to which no area is immune.

This series defines MCIs to help agencies understand their role and how they can prepare; considers the tools needed to mitigate human-caused and natural disasters; and outlines keys for interagency coordination and response efforts.

We must not exclude low-frequency events from our training, particularly when there is the potential for such high-risk consequences
After a tornado tore through Mayfield, fire crews searched for survivors, evacuated the local jail, and mourned a friend
Oscar Monterossa served in the U.S. Army for four years as a combat medic, but it was the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting where the paramedic felt most vulnerable
Confidence can only be obtained through realistic MCI drills that truly test the system
An honest and objective community assessment will highlight the many potential MCI events that could occur in any jurisdiction
How small or rural fire departments can plan and train for MCIs
Simple ways to build collaboration among agencies and involve the community
Real challenges of an MCI from a metropolitan city’s perspective
It’s time to make MCI training part of the regular rotation
It’s vital to identify your capacity, who can help when needed, and what equipment is limited