Terrors Toll: Diligence & Determination is NOT What They Hoped to See From Us

By Shaunda Rauch on April 17, 2013 from Emergency Services Blog via Connect-Bridgeport.com

It's been a little over 36 hours since the Boston Marathon bombings, and the tragedy continues to unfold before us.  The full horror of Monday's bomb attacks in Boston was reflected in emergency rooms across the city as doctors were forced to perform amputations and treat injuries normally expected on a battlefield.  Around 11 PM national news sources were reporting, at least 144 people were reported to have been taken to hospital with wounds sustained from the blasts that brought terror and chaos to the city's annual marathon race.  Three people, including an eight-year-old boy, were killed, while at least 17 people are reported to be in a critical condition. While many patients were treated for cuts and scrapes, doctors have also been "pulling ball bearings out of people in the emergency room," suggesting the bombs were designed to propel shrapnel, according to one terrorism expert briefed on the Boston blasts [reported via CNN]. 
After nearly three decades in emergency management/response, I still find myself with tears in my eyes and in complete shock as I see the inexcusable pain and suffering that was inflicted upon our brothers and sisters in Boston.  Investigations are underway with law enforcement agencies from all levels of government to determine the why’s … how’s and who’s of the event. The Nation’s network of Intelligence Fusion Centers [each state developed Fusion Centers following the tragic events September 11th to build partnerships between public and private entities.  Through the cooperation of local, state, and federal law enforcement, public safety agencies, and the private sector, the fusion center is able to better protect the citizens of the United States against all hazards.] continue their mission of aggressively facilitating the collection and compilation of all credible information and, through professional analysis of collected information and open source documents, producing reliable and credible intelligence. The rest of us in public safety are busy tightening up security measures, reviewing existing plans and protocols to determine if there are any areas of improvement that can be implemented for our local jurisdictions and encouraging our responders and citizens to be more vigilant.  Make no mistake; there will be a lot of armchair quarterbacking in the days to come: Was there a lapse in security? Did the medical response run smoothly? Was there a plan in place to mitigate such an unthinkable event?
These questions are important — for us to learn about what happened and learn from the actions of the public safety personnel. The bombings serve as a bitter reminder that we are not invulnerable to attack within the homeland, and that complacency cannot replace competence in response capability.
In the end, it will be the preplanning we do that will prepare us for when "the big one" strikes.  Did you notice in the press conferences that the ER physicians and responders kept saying, “we had drilled and were prepared” … “we knew what we were supposed to do because we had drilled”?  Boston’s effective response to this tragedy wasn’t by chance.  These people had worked tirelessly BEFORE Monday’s bombings to be sure that they were equipped, trained and ready for an event.  It’s too late to prepare when the disaster or attack is at our doorstep!!  The Bridgeport Emergency Services Departments are working hard to make sure that we are prepared, trained and equipped so that when tragedy comes knocking on Bridgeport’s door we are ready to take care of our community.  

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