Boston Marathon explosions put states on high alert
What was supposed to be a day of triumph and achievement for runners across the country, quickly turned into a nightmare after a pair of bombs exploded as runners crossed the finish line during the Boston Marathon.
Right now reports out of Boston say three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy named Martin, and more than 100 others were injured. Immediately following the aftermath, several major cities began activating emergency measures to ensure safety close to home including San Francisco, Washington D.C., New York City and Chicago.
Many of the security steps taken shortly after the event were very reminiscent of those taken following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. While Washington officials work to sort out exactly what happened, the explosions do give us a snapshot of just how quickly first responders and emergency teams are prepared to spring into action to care for and protect those who are injured as well as those who are not. In fact, many of the doctors and nurses who helped during the first few minutes after the explosions were marathon runners themselves.
Dozens of those injured are still being treated at Boston area hospitals. And several Chicagoans were there to witness the horrific scene.
As one of Illinois’ largest health systems, Advocate Health Care has five Level I Trauma Centers and two Level II Trauma Centers. A trauma center is a hospital equipped to provide comprehensive emergency medical services to patients suffering traumatic injuries.
Dr. Valerie Phillips, medical director of the Emergency Preparedness team at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. says hospital emergency preparedness teams at Advocate drill throughout the year to prepare for disasters such as the one in Boston.
“We work with several community partners, including local police, fire, and other emergency response agencies,” said Dr. Phillips. “We strive to make sure our associates understand the importance of knowing their specific role during a crisis.”
Advocate has 10 hospitals and the state’s largest pediatric network and the system played a significant role in partnering with the City of Chicago during emergency preparedness plans for the 2012 NATO Summit.
Reverend Bonnie Condon, vice president of Faith Outreach at Advocate says following any tragedy of this magnitude, it’s also important to remember that the healing process goes far and above physical scars.
“Even though we are not there in Boston we can still help the healing process,” said Condon. “Just being there to listen and offer our prayers and support can be some of the most powerful ways we help those impacted,” she said.
Condon says one of the key roles of the hospital chaplains at Advocate involves comforting patients and their families during the healing process. One of the ways chaplains do this, she says, is by making themselves available 24-hours-a-day for anyone who needs them.
Right now several organizations, including the Red Cross have established links for people to contribute to the victims and their families.
Meanwhile, President Obama promises that the person or persons responsible for this violent act “will experience the full-weight of justice.” In Chicago, officials who are now working to organize the Chicago Marathon later this fall in the Windy City say they are prepared to address any security concerns.
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