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Mass shootings are so common that mayors now have a checklist for when one happens

Don McLaughlin (center), the mayor of Uvalde, Texas, leaves Robb Elementary School after a visit on Wednesday, the day after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at the school.
Allison Dinner
/
AFP via Getty Images
Don McLaughlin (center), the mayor of Uvalde, Texas, leaves Robb Elementary School after a visit on Wednesday, the day after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at the school.

Mass shootings have become so common in the U.S. that there is now a script for city officials to follow in the aftermath.

Written by UnitedOnGuns, part of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law, the checklist guides mayors and city managers through the first 24 hours after a shooting and outlines the major decisions they will have to make.

"Mayors often don't realize what their role is until a shooting happens in their community," UnitedOnGuns Director Sarah Peck says. "What we're trying to do is give them the tools they need to understand the magnitude of their role, which starts when the shooting starts and can continue for years."

In its "Mass Shooting Protocol," UnitedOnGuns outlines seven focus areas:

  • Communications
  • Emergency operations
  • Victims and the families
  • Donations
  • Vigils
  • VIP visitors and elected officials
  • Mental health
  • Victims and their families should be prioritized over anything else, according to the checklist. This includes family reunification areas, which need to be separated from where members of the news media are gathering, Peck says.

    "It needs to be secured so that the press and other people can't enter," she says. "And immediate services that are provided include death notifications and helping people get through those first awful hours."

    You can view the checklist below and see the full guide for the first 24 hours after a shooting on UnitedOnGuns' website.

    UnitedOnGuns also offers a "Mass Shooting Playbook" — a more comprehensive guide for mayors that includes insight from others who have gone through this experience, actions that mayors can take before a mass shooting occurs and case briefs from six mass shootings that have taken place in the U.S. since 2015.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.