As law enforcement conducts its investigation into the Boston Marathon explosions, public health officials will be doing some investigating of their own into the emergency response to Monday’s attack. It was the first major test of its kind in the US for first responders since the September 11th attacks. And given the force of the bombs, and the reports that they contained metal nails and ball bearings, the number of casualties, according to Derek Brendisi, could have been much higher.
“The positives that come out of what happened in Boston as far as the number of people that were saved and the way the first responders and the hospitals were able to mitigate the after effects all has to do with planning.”
Brendisi is the public health director for the City of Worcester. He says state and local departments like his across the country have been meeting for the past decade with police, fire and emergency management personnel and hospitals and other care facilities to develop a response infrastructure to deal with incidents like Monday’s explosions. He says a lot of information is yet to come. And, he says, how response plans evolve will be based on what is learned, coupled with other incidents like the September 11th attacks and subsequent anthrax scares in 2001.
“A lot of our planning and response infrastructure has been built based upon those lessons learned. And so we will learn from those individuals that were there and can speak directly to the things that they saw and the things they wish had gone differently.”