Mass shootings are so common that mayors have a checklist for when they happen: NPR

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.

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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’s Dinner/AFP via Getty Images

Mass shootings have become so common in the US that there is now a script that city officials must follow afterwards.

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 key decisions that they will have to take.

“Mayors often don’t realize their role until a shooting happens in their community,” says UnitedOnGuns director Sarah Peck. “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 go on for years.”

In their “Mass Shooting Protocol,” UnitedOnGuns outlines seven areas of focus:

  • Communications
  • emergency operations
  • victims and families
  • donations
  • vigils
  • VIP visitors and elected officials
  • Mental health

Victor Escalon, regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, gives a press conference in Uvalde on Thursday.

Allison’s Dinner/AFP via Getty Images


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Allison’s Dinner/AFP via Getty Images


Victor Escalon, regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, gives a press conference in Uvalde on Thursday.

Allison’s Dinner/AFP via Getty Images

Victims and their families should take precedence over anything else, according to the checklist. This includes family reunion areas, which should be separate from where members of the media gather, says Peck.

“You have to secure it so that the press and other people can’t get in,” he says. “And the immediate services that are provided include death notifications and helping people get through those horrible first few hours.”

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

UnitedOnGuns also offers a “Mass Shooting Playbook,” a more comprehensive guide for mayors that includes information from others who have been through this experience, actions mayors can take before a mass shooting occurs, and case summaries of six mass shootings that have taken place in the United States since 2015.

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