Security at the 2014 Boston Marathon

April 15, 2014 will mark the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings that claimed the lives of three spectators and injured an estimated 264 others.

On April 21, 36,000 runners and one million spectators will gather for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. This crowd includes 9,000 more runners than last year and over double the average number of spectators. The increase in attendance at the world’s oldest race can be attributed to the mourning and remembrance of those who lost their lives to the two pressure cooker bombs that detonated in the middle of last year’s marathon.

Boston officials have recently announced information about the upcoming marathon related to security, emergency services, traffic advisories and trauma counseling. The security challenge at this event is colossal as the event is spread across eight cities and towns lined with spectators. 

Security plans call for more than 3,500 police officers (twice last year’s number). These officers include plainclothes officers, private security contractors, security checkpoints with metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs and hundreds of surveillance cameras. Spectators are encouraged to limit the items they carry with them and to use clear plastic bags for the belongings they choose to bring. Backpacks, strollers, coolers and vests with pockets are all discouraged.

Emergency Medical Services plans include 37 ambulances located at various points throughout Boston, 140 EMS personnel stationed throughout the city, four medical tents on the Boston portion of the route and a 30-bed ambulance bus ready to deploy if needed. 

Emergency communication plans include the activation of the Stephen M. Lawlor Medical Intelligence Center, two Emergency Operation Centers manned and prepared, increased staffing at Dispatch centers and a team in place to provide situational awareness, resource support and coordination for the response and recovery in the event of an emergency.

The City of Boston has adopted a number of precautions and is confident they are prepared in the event of an emergency. Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, Col. Timothy P. Alben, encourages everyone to support the runners in a spirit of American resiliency, “This is the opportunity to show the resiliency of the American public, to celebrate Patriots’ Day, school vacation. We’ve got a Red Sox game at Fenway Park that day. I’d love to see people come out.”