MEMA Hosts Boston Marathon Drill In Framingham

FRAMINGHAM (CBS) — Dozens of organizations participated in a Boston Marathon operational exercise Monday at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Framingham.

For several hours, emergency and municipal leaders worked together on different scenarios at the MEMA bunker on Worcester Road in Framingham. More than 200 people from at least 50 local, regional, state and law enforcement agencies took part in the exercise.

Emergency Operations Centers in the eight cities and towns that host the marathon also participated in the exercise, according to a statement.

MEMA spokesman Peter Judge says they have an army of volunteers ready to go for the race.

“(There’s) like 9,000 volunteers out there working this event,” he told WBZ-TV’s Karen Twomey, “So there’s a lot of eyes and ears on the road.”

Safety officials worked through potential problems that could arise during the marathon including lightning, extreme heat, wires down, injuries, and bomb threats.

“There’s some changes to the types of attacks we’ve seen this year than what we’re looking at a year ago,” MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz told WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton, “So that causes us to change out plans.”

When the marathon is underway, the agencies will coordinate efforts to make the race day operations run as efficiently as possible. There is expected to be more than 1,000,000 spectators and 30,000 participants. There will also be 5,000 law enforcement officers and 450 National Guard soldiers working that day.

Maps of the marathon routes were on display throughout the bunker during the exercise to help officials strategize.

“Right now, we’re dealing with protesters that have changed themselves across the course with runners just minutes away,” Schwartz told WBZ.

Judge says the importance of the drills can’t be understated.

“The year before the 2013 bombing, a scenario we had here was a bomb exploding at the finish line,” he said. “A few things we learned from that exercise were to pre-position a lot of the medical staff and ambulances closer to the finish line.

“Many people feel it saved quite a few lives.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

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