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Volume 31, Issue 1

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Tuesday, 13 March 2018 14:13

Psychological Trauma – When You Become the Target

On October 1, 2018, a shooter from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel opened fire upon a concert crowd fenced in a 15-acre open air lot. 1,100+ rounds were fired in a span of 10 minutes. 58 people died, excluding the shooter, 851 were injured of which 422 were gunshot wounds. 14 of those shot were off-duty firefighters and police officers enjoying the concert. Police and EMS personnel assigned to work the concert that night also took fire.

How do you react when under live fire? What do you do when there are people to help? How do you manage your emotions afterwards?

I am an All-Hazards Psychological Trauma Responder that was deployed to both the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert massacre and most recently the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting rampage. I supported the Crisis Intervention teams response for each incident.

Las Vegas Fire-Rescue (LVFR) personnel, both on and off-duty, did a heroic job of saving lives. Heroic is not a word I like to use as it has become diluted by overuse. However, in this case, there is no other word to describe their efforts.  LVFR saved people during the shooting and triaged afterwards. The large number of injured and dead was overwhelming. The ever-present thought expressed was “We have a job to do…”