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Primary responsibility for the health and well-being of both runners and spectators in Boston rests with Boston Emergency Medical Service (BEMS), along with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Emergency Management Agency. According to BEMS chief Richard Serino, his department considers events like the marathon and the Fourth of July celebration as "planned disasters" - safe, controlled environments that present "an opportunity to test some things you would never want to test in a real disaster."
a tracking system that utilizes barcodes and hand scanners to log a patient's condition and location has been tested during past races. During a real disaster, this technology could provide authorities quick access to the location and condition of casualties, information that currently takes hours, if not days, for friends and families of the injured to ascertain.
The system deployed by SafetyPAD at the Boston Marathon was not a Mass Casualty device; it was part of Boston EMS's existing electronic patient care reporting system that has been in place since 2004. The new Android based platform was designed for a lightweight device intended for use by bike and gator teams to respond and document patients in need of aid by Boston EMS first responders along the marathon route.
To successfully manage the marathon, BEMS and other public safety agencies must have relationships not just with the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the race, but also with a diverse set of private organizations.
Massachusetts is better prepared for a real disaster because every Patriot's Day and Fourth of July is treated as a "disaster." Instead of constant warnings about the inevitability of another terrorist attack or natural catastrophe, the public would be better served if this type of local homeland security innovation were promoted and adopted elsewhere.