Editor’s note: The following report was written by W. Derrick Lea, NAD Adventist Community Service Disaster Response (ACS DR) director, upon hearing the news of the Santa Fe High School mass shooting on May 18 in Santa Fe, Texas (Houston metropolitan area). A 17-year-old student opened fire in the high school, killing 10 people and injuring 13.
As I sat and reflected on the aftermath of yet another mass shooting, this time in Santa Fe, Texas, I wondered how much worse things can get in this world. The reality is, according to the Bible, things will continue to get worse before Christ returns.
While many of us have prepared for a variety of crises, there are some things local conference ACS DR leaders can do now to ensure readiness if a mass shooting should take place in your area:
- Offer an emotional spiritual care course in your local area with certified counselors. ACS gives ICISF (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation) certified training to communities willing to host sessions, which generally require 15 people.
- Reach out to your emergency management office to describe the resources ACS DR can offer to an affected community.
- Reach out to your local CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) team to discuss the requirements for joining efforts during an active incident.
- Team up with other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) when offering emotional spiritual care to affected community members.
- Contact your local or state VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to make them aware of the resources available through ACS DR.
I’d like to thank the Oregon, Florida, Greater New York, Hawaii, and Arkansas-Louisiana conferences for agreeing to host five emotional spiritual provider courses in the near future. Contact our office if your conference is also interested in hosting emotional spiritual provider courses. We are looking forward to working with you.