Son-of-Boston Rich Serino, currently Deputy Administrator of FEMA and formerly Chief of Boston EMS, penned a thank you op-ed last week to the first responders and citizens of Boston who participated in the response to the bombings.
While in one moment we saw terror and brutality, in the next we saw our community’s love and compassion. We saw our EMTs, paramedics, police officers, and firefighters spring into action and perform their jobs heroically.
He also saw how those non-professional responders helped save lives.
They weren’t the only first responders, though. Bystanders and marathon volunteers, regular people given the chance to run, decided instead to stay and help the professional responders do their jobs. Some comforted victims, urging them to hold on and that help was on the way. Some helped carry victims to the medical tent for triage. Some did more by helping to control bleeding, in some cases using their own clothes as tourniquets to stop life-threatening blood loss.
Years of planning across the spectrum of agencies in the area contributed to the incredibly high level of preparedness.
For years, responders in Boston, as in other cities, have utilized large public events as “planned disasters,” anticipating and preparing for mass casualties if something goes wrong. In Boston, First Night, Fourth of July on the Esplanade, and the 2004 Democratic National Convention, all offered the city’s medical community a chance to hone their plans and skills in managing high-profile, public events. In my current role at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, we work with communities big and small across the country to prepare for these worst-case scenarios.
And he was clear about the successes of that day.
It was no accident that not a single hospital in the city was overwhelmed with patients in the aftermath of the bombings. It was no accident that patients were appropriately triaged and transported in an orderly manner to the appropriate hospital based on their needs. And it was no accident that a Medical Intelligence Center was fully staffed and operating on race day to keep track of patients, coordinate resources and share information with the medical community throughout the region. All of these are tangible results of disaster planning that has gone on in Boston for more than 20 years.
A man of, by, and for that community for so long, Chief Serino is uniquely positioned to offer his thanks.
In a disaster, everyone has something to give and never was that more evident than on Marathon Monday. For the EMTs and paramedics of Boston EMS, a special “Thank you for a job well done!” To the citizens of our town, I’ve never been more proud.
The entire piece is worth your time: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/04/26/medical-response-marathon-bombings-was-community-wide-effort/VxBxwziGKrz532QbwPQlfP/story.html