Lessons to be learned from three mass casualty events - 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, 2009 Aurora Movie Theatre Shooting, and 2005 Hurricane Katrina
Disaster preparedness is absolutely necessary as the number of both man-made and natural disasters increases worldwide. Not confined to any regions or people, disasters can result in mass casualties. The United States is not spared from these incidents. Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States has tried to establish more effective and efficient emergency management systems at all levels in order to respond to any type of disaster. Due to the effort, much improvement in disaster preparedness was observed when mass casualty events happened within the last 10 years. Although there are many independent studies for each mass casualty event, there are very few studies done to compare multiple mass casualty incidents and find commonly shared lessons. This paper aims to determine whether there are any similarities among three mass casualty events - 2005 Hurricane Katrina, the 2009 Aurora Theatre Shooting, and the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. Because the response to the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing was the most seamless among the three, the most in-depth investigation was done on this incident. Through the examination, the study will also prove if any of the lessons learned from these events can be implemented in future mass casualty incidents. To do so, many current reports and literature reviews were analyzed. The conclusion gained from this study is that there are indeed commonly occurring challenges in disasters and various aspects of disaster preparedness that require practice and preparation. In addition, learning from others' unfortunate mass casualty incidents and their lessons is an important part of strengthening the existing disaster preparedness systems.