New Red Cross system part of Marathon security effort

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (WWLP) – Security and safety are the major concerns today as runners make their way through towns and toward the finish line in Copley Square.

In addition to the increased police and military presence at the race, the Red Cross is also providing important contributions to the security of those participating in and attending the Marathon.

Several Red Cross volunteers from Western Massachusetts and across the state are at Red Cross headquarters in Cambridge right now, coordinating and communicating with hundreds of others stationed along the route to make sure they could easily figure out how to keep everyone safe, in case of a disaster.

For the first time in Massachusetts, they have introduced a system to reduce chaos during a disaster. The system, called Patient Connection, is activated if ten or more people are in hurt in any tragedy. The system is connected to all hospitals, so families can call a certain number to find out where their loved one is getting treatment, without holding up emergency lines.

Volunteers say this is all part of their mission to prevent disasters from getting worse than they already are.

“We have over 600 volunteers today, 200 of which are disaster volunteers and of those 600, that’s mental health, health services, all sorts of volunteers and we have them prepositioned all along the route,” Red Cross Disaster Workforce Engagement Manager Donna Toupin said.

Part of keeping everyone safe is making sure runners stay hydrated and bystanders affected by last year’s bombing are okay today.

On 22News Monday evening, reporter Kait Walsh will share with you why volunteers say it’s important to come from western Massachusetts to Boston to help at the Red Cross Headquarters.

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