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Published On July 23, 2013

POLICY

Just Doing Their Jobs

When two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, a painstakingly rehearsed emergency response plan sprang into action.

Video footage from the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, captured wrenching images of first responders rushing to the aid of victims scattered across Boylston Street. Yet despite the apparent chaos, order and structure quickly took shape. As in many cities, hospitals and emergency responders in Boston have made planning, training and rehearsing for disasters a high priority in the years since September 11. “People knew their roles and did their jobs,” says Meg Femino, director of emergency management at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of nine hospitals that received bombing victims by ambulance. A timeline of the first hour after the attack illustrates how those well-laid plans produced what some consider a minor miracle: Every victim who made it to a hospital that day survived. 

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*Note: All times approximate.

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