On Sunday, a gunman opened fire on a large outdoor music festival outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The attack left at least 50 victims dead, making it one of the worst mass-shooting in the history of the United States. Amid the chaos friends and family are still scrambling to get in touch with attendees, and County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo shared important number for people to get updates on their loved ones. "That number for family and friends to get an update on loved ones is 1-866-535 5654," he said, and it is arguably the most important thing to share in the wake of the attack. There will be time to send condolences and prayers to the victims and their families, but, as law enforcement continues to assess the attack and people try to locate those close to them, consider sharing this number with those in need.
Lombardo distributed the number during a press conference on Monday morning. "It’s a devastating time," he said. "We have responded to the scene, and we’re doing the best we can to provide safety to the survivors." The phone line is open to all who are having difficulty getting in touch with loved ones and want to contact the Las Vegas law enforcement for an update. If you want to help distribute important information, sharing this number is crucial.
With at least 50 dead and over 400 injured, it will be a long road to recovery for Las Vegas. For people in the immediate area of the incident, blood banks in Nevada are in serious need of donations. This is an impactful way to help victims of the attack, and the American Red Cross has a list of locations to donate blood in the area code and nearby. Above is a more detailed list of United Blood Services locations, but the police department requested that people go to the Labor Health & Welfare Clinic at 7135 W. Sahara.
If you want to help but are not in Nevada, there are a couple of other actions to take. The first is minding social media posting; in addition to vital and valuable information like the phone number distributed by Joseph Lombardo, it's important to only post from established news sources and stay clear of misinformation, hoaxes, or conspiracy theories perpetuated online. Donating to local organizations in Las Vegas that assist with mental health counseling is also valuable. An attack of this nature takes a toll on both the physical and mental health of the community, and contributing to an organization like Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada will help the recovery process.
In addition, the aftermath of this attack will be a time for the United States to reflect on gun-control policy. It's important to note that the number of mass shootings incidents has increased in the past 10 years and to note the NRA's role in dictating U.S. gun policy. If you want to see change, write to your U.S. Senator about common-sense gun policy. If writing or calling representatives feels intimidating, a resource like 5 Calls makes this process less daunting.
The events in Las Vegas constitute the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The attack is devastating for the Las Vegas community, and, while personal contributions may feel small in the face of this tragedy, they are important. If you can share critical information like the Sheriff department's phone number with the friends and families in need, please do so. But if that doesn't feel like enough during this painful recovery process, donating blood, supporting local organizations, and petitioning lawmakers are ways to help.
Here are some ways you can help the victims in Las Vegas.