As we ready for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday, we as a community, pause to remember those lost and to celebrate the survivors of last year's unexpected, tragic events. Understanding that this year's race will be challenging for many people, the Boston Public Health Commission and Boston EMS, with our partners the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), the City of Boston, the State, and all 7 cities and towns along the route take this event and the physical and emotional safety of everyone involved seriously.
The role of Boston EMS is clear – our EMTs and paramedics will work to deliver excellent care and to protect the safety and health of the public throughout Boston, including the over 36,000 runners, 10,000 volunteers and countless spectators. It's common for runners to be treated for dehydration, blisters, and exhaustion after completing the 26.2 mile course. This year's public safety plan includes an increased EMS presence consisting of 13 ambulances located along the Boston portion of the race route to support the 24 ambulances providing coverage throughout the rest of the city. Additionally, Boston EMS will have 140 extra staff on duty to work the race route – from the Newton line to Brighton, to the Brookline line, and then again from Brookline to Audubon Circle through the Boston Common. Our medical personnel will include EMTs and Paramedics on bicycles, 4-wheel vehicles, foot patrol, and in medical tents working alongside physicians and nurses.
To ensure EMS quick response to medical needs, personnel along the Boston race route are staged on fully equipped bicycles.
This year, our medical tents have increased capacity to care for patients as the field of runners has increased. The largest medical tent near the finish line can accommodate up to 220 individuals, with extra space for additional cots as needed. An overflow tent will also be on standby. Our ambulance bus – that's right, a bus outfitted with 24 beds and all of the equipment found in a typical ambulance – will be set up near the finish line at Boston Common ready to deploy. In the medical tent, EMTs and paramedics will be equipped with an arsenal of tools (including blankets, oxygen tanks, medications, and ice packs, just to name a few ) to treat patients and to determine if they need further care. Every water station, medical tent, volunteer group, and strategically placed ambulance are part of a well-coordinated plan that aims to keep everyone safe.
Extra call takers and supervisors, will work from multiple command centers to facilitate communication between medical teams, as staff and volunteers conduct injured runner tracking in the tents. Staff and volunteers track patient information as runners enter the medical tents and are then either discharged or transported to an area hospital, making family reunification easier and faster. The Stephen M. Lawlor Medical Intelligence Center will be activated to coordinate activities among hospitals and to assist with family reunification as well. Boston EMS staff will be along the marathon route from early morning until late at night, ensuring the safety of everyone enjoying Marathon Monday.
Our "gators" will be equipped with supplies, allowing our EMS personnel to easily navigate Boston's crowded streets.
To support the emotional wellness of residents, community members, and visitors BPHC has organized free and confidential resources for the public. The Mayor's Health Line, reachable at 617-534-5050, is currently staffed with clinicians to offer phone-based counseling. On Marathon Monday, the Health Line will be staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. In-person drop-in counseling will be offered during the same time that day at Our Lady of Victories Church, located at 27 Isabella Street near Copley Square. Additional drop in support services will be available on Tuesday, April 22nd from 5 – 7pm in the McKim Courtyard Room of the main branch of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. No appointment is necessary for this free session.
We have also posted information about how to cope with stress, loss and grief during this time on our website. These resources include our Resource and Recovery Guide, with information on mental health and community services, for the survivors of last year's tragedy.
The nation and the world will celebrate Monday's running of the Boston Marathon with us. After months of preparing, this is a time for Boston to shine. We thank everyone for the support, cards, and well wishes we've received over the last year. On Monday, we wish the best of luck to all runners and hope spectators enjoy a beautiful day.