5 lessons from the Orlando nightclub mass shooting

Orlando Health had trained for just such a tragedy, but you never know what it will be like until you are swept into the maelstrom. Here’s how to prepare.

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Shortly after 3 a.m. June 12, 2016, a phone call woke Kena Lewis, director of public affairs and media relations for Orlando Health.

A voice asked, “Hey, Kena, have you heard about the shooting?”

She said she had, thinking he was asking about another recent shooting in town. The caller, a fellow hospital employee, told her no: “This one is someplace close to us, someplace called Pulse.”

There had been a mass shooting in a gay nightclub by a gunman inspired the Islamic State terror group. By the time it was over, the gunman had murdered 49 people and wounded 58 others before police shot him dead.

Meanwhile, Orlando Health—an 18,000-employee medical group just three blocks from the crime scene—found itself swept into the maelstrom of a contemporary nightmare.

In a Ragan Training video, “How Orlando Health’s Media Relations Team Handled the Pulse Nightclub Tragedy,” Lewis offers essential crisis lessons for communicators in an age when terrorists can strike anywhere.

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