Communication breakdown impeded Orlando Fire Department's response to Pulse shooting, review finds


  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
An independent review of the Orlando Fire Department's response to the Pulse nightclub massacre released Wednesday found that though the response team followed protocol, there was a breakdown in communication that impeded decision-making among those providing aid.

In the 43-page report, which was produced by the National Police Foundation following a request by OFD Chief Roderick Williams, more than 60 OFD command staff, firefighters, paramedics, dispatchers and call takers were interviewed. Also reviewed as part of the process were 911 call logs, department policies and procedures, dispatch data, incident reports and reviewed news coverage of the 2016 shooting where a gunman killed 49 people.

Among the investigators' findings, the report found that the department was challenged by the "delayed arrival of executive leadership on scene, the lack of inter-agency communication, and outdated policies, procedures and protocols."

It also criticized the department for failing to coordinate with police during the incident, as a result delaying the transport of some victims to the hospital. The report also noted that OFD policies were outdated, particularly when it comes to policies to address the aftermath for first responders.

Following the shooting, first responders didn't receive counseling before being sent home or returning to work.

Going further, the report also notes the effect on first responders' families, noting that OFD didn't follow department guidelines for having a critical incident stress management team. Firefighters interviewed in the report said such a system hadn't been in place for decades.

The full report is available here.

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