Las Vegas shootings a stark reminder to prepare for the worst

As the nation reeled and rumors mixed with facts, hospitals and their communications teams sprang into action. Here are takeaways for planning for unthinkable events.

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Every emergency room is poised for extraordinary circumstances.

After a gunman opened fire on a Las Vegas concert crowd Sunday night, even highly prepared medical practitioners—and hospital communicators—were put to the test.

Nearly 60 people were killed, and more than 500 were wounded by gunfire or injured in the resulting panic.

Las Vegas hospitals have received well-deserved praise for handling a wave of patients needing urgent attention. Their communications teams have earned similar plaudits for handling a barrage of questions from reporters and deflecting a torrent of rumors and misinformation from an array of sources, much of it fueled by social media.

Medical professionals always hope for the best but prepare for the worst, and communicators can adopt that same approach. Here are some takeaways from the response Sunday evening:

1. Planning is crucial.

Don’t get caught off guard. NPR notes:

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