Harvard report examines response to Boston Marathon bombing

 

Flowers lie on the sidewalk at the site of the first explosion as people walk along Boylston Street after the street reopened to the public for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013. Credit: Reuters
Flowers lie on the sidewalk at the site of the first explosion as people walk along Boylston Street after the street reopened to the public for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013. Credit: Reuters

A new report released Thursday by Harvard University examines the response to the Boston Marathon bombings and said that the efforts by officials to prepare and ready for catastrophe helped execute a fast response following the blasts. 

Much of the success, the authors wrote, was “the result of extensive and careful planning, years of investments and training, structure, skill- and relationship- and trust-building.”

The report, titled “Why Was Boston Strong? Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing,” was co-authored by four scholars of emergency management and criminal justice at Harvard Kennedy School, Law School and Business School, Harvard said. It analyzed the 100 hours between the moment the first bomb exploded on April 15 through the arrest of accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The report cites an effective on-scene triage, the rapid mobilization of area hospital emergency departments and the quick response by survivors, bystanders and professional responders at the scene as why the bombings resulted in a far lower causality count than would have been expected.

Additionally, law enforcement’s ability to quickly respond and secure the blast area, establish a central coordination and command and organize investigative work were some of the successes of that day.

“Our research suggests that major contributing factors to much of what went well – and to some of went less well – were the command and coordination structures, relationships, and circumstances through which responding organizations were deployed and managed,” the report says.

The report includes recommendations for agencies charged with preparing and responding to planned and unforeseen crises. They include: quickly establishing a cross-agency, senior strategic and policy-making level of engagement and secure command post; develop a more effective process to manage the inevitable self-deployment of responders who arrive at events as independent individuals rather than in organized units; and review current training and practice on control of weapons fire.

The authors hope the observations and analysis can provide future guidance for other large-scale events.

“We believe that many of the lessons about mastering highly uncertain and fluid events will apply to many other event scenarios just as well — natural disasters and industrial accidents, for example, in addition to terror-related events,” the report said.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

Wellbeing

Are you a narcissist? We look at the…

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…

Style

Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.

Education

Here are this year's most creative college application…

The college application essay is one of the only times during the admissions process where a student can showcase his or her personality. While many…