In this fourth episode of the medicolegal death investigation special release season of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcasts, John Fudenberg, the Coroner for Clark County (Nevada), is interviewed about the 2017 concert mass shooting in Las Vegas, with a focus on lessons learned and how other coroner offices can prepare for unforeseen mass death investigations.
Among the responsibilities of the Clark County Coroner's Office following the mass shooting were recovering victims from the shooting scene, identifying victims, determining cause of death, managing inquiries about victim identification, notifying family members of victims, and providing mental health and wellness services for the coroner office's staff. One of the lessons learned from this mass shooting was the importance of having regular full-scale simulations of responses to a mass casualty event. A related lesson is the importance of having all of the resources for a family assistance center in place independent of the coroner's office. This includes having call-center services ready immediately following a mass casualty event. Other issues discussed in terms of preparation for a mass casualty event include staff training from experts in the field, having a network of supplementary assistance from trained staff who come from other jurisdictions, and the provision of mental health and wellness services for staff exposed to the extremes of human suffering and trauma.