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Dave Ross

When the first responders are us

In this April 15, 2013 file photo, medical workers aid injured people near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following two bomb explosions in Boston. In the course of a year, limbs have been replaced, psyches soothed, the wounds sustained in a moment at the marathon's finish line have at least begun to heal. At the same time, a city shaken by an act of terrorism has returned to its usual rhythms - sadder, but some say stronger, as well. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

It’s a year since the Boston Marathon bombings, a good time to go over the lessons learned. And the biggest one came out within seconds of the explosions – when ordinary people became first responders.

“These people had no medical training whatsoever,” said an EMS workers of the people helping the injured at the scene of the Boston bombings.

At a Harvard forum just 11 days after the bombing, EMS workers said there’s a good reason that of the 264 injured, only 3 died.

“Some people were just holding jackets over people to keep them warm, and I can’t tell you home much that helps.”

“Some, it was just as simple as direct pressure, pushing on a bleeding vessel.”

“There were a number of people arrived at my emergency department, had they not had those interventions they would have died.”

“Anybody who arrived alive at a Boston hospital, is alive today.”

And that’s the kind of reaction that Leonard Marcus would like to see in every community. He runs Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership initiative.

“When the moment comes, you have to be able to engage that system.”

We’re seeing that, just recently, on that Southwest flight, when a crazed passenger suddenly tried to open the rear door at 35,000 feet.

“We basically tackled the guy who was back there,” said one of the passengers.

There were air marshals aboard, but the passengers got there first.

That’s what Marcus was talking about – the idea that any moment, any of us could get the ‘tag.'”

Marcus said, “When something like this happens, ‘you’re it.'”

So get a good night’s sleep. You never know.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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About the Author

Dave Ross

Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.


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