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Planning For The Worst: How Emergency Services Fared In The Oct. 1 Shooting


Associated Press

Las Vegas Metro Police officers during the Oct. 1 shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.

During the last week of September, we talked to emergency managers from Clark County, Washoe County and the City of Las Vegas. 

We talked about disaster preparedness and whether Nevada was ready for a major natural disaster or terrorist attack.

A few days later, the Oct. 1 shooting took place on the Las Vegas Strip, and those plans were put to the test.

So, we’re revisiting our talk to see how our emergency response plans fared.

John Steinbeck is the emergency manager for Clark County.

Steinbeck started getting text messages within minutes of the shooting. He had hoped the estimated number of wounded was inaccurate,  but as the number of dead and wounded started to roll in, the true scope of the tragedy came into focus.

“Within hours of the event, we started putting the foundation for family reunification for notification for those who had been deceased and support for those that were going to need it," Steinbeck said.

There are two stages of emergency services. The first is response which is how police, firefighters and other first responders deal with immediate needs. The second is recovery, the stage they're in now.

Carolyn Levering is the emergency manager of the city of Las Vegas. She said the second stage can last years.

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“That consequence management is what we’re working through right now when it comes to resilience for the families and the victims, and recovery for our community for our responders and for everyone else who was on the periphery of this whole incident," she said.

That resilience and recovery come through social services for families of victims and survivors, economic and mental health help for all of those who responded.

Steinbeck is also the deputy fire chief at the Clark County Fire Department. He said many of the men and women in his department who were the first on the scene are still shocked by the event, but they're offering all the resources they can.

“Our number one goal is to make sure that no one else is victimized by this any more than possible,” she said.

People from the U.S. Department of Justice have been brought in to help because they have dealt with this kind of tragedy before. 

All of the emergency services managers in the city and county have plans for the worst, but until something happens and they have to put them into motion, they don't know what holes or miscalculations might be there. 

Levering said one thing that was not expected during the October 1 shooting was the number of citizen responders who helped people by putting them in their own private cars and trucks and taking them to the hospital.

And now as their recovery plans play out over the next few months and years, Levering said they would revise and update them as more information is gathered.

“Our recovery plans are being put to the test," she said. "We’ve never had an incident of this magnitude that made us test our recovery capabilities.”

Vegas Strong Resilience Center

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John Steinbeck, emergency manager, Clark County; Carolyn Levering, emergency manager, City of Las Vegas

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