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Personal Identification for Mass Casualties


Patriot’s Day an annual civic holiday celebrated in Massachusetts on the third Monday of April. On Patriot’s day, schools and businesses are closed, and people gather in historic Lexington and Concord to commemorating the battles that occurred on April 19, 1775. These battles signaled the start of the American Revolutionary War. On this day, another yearly historic event occurs in Boston, the Boston Marathon.

The Boston Marathon, according to MarathonGuide.com “with the exclusion of the Olympics and various Championship races, the Boston Marathon is the only marathon in the USA that maintains qualifying times and requirements”. The Boston Marathon is a spectacular race that brings exceptional athletes from around the world together.

To run the Boston marathon is an achievement that takes dedication, commitment and sacrifice. It is the race of a lifetime for serious runners. To run the Boston marathon is an accomplishment to be proud of, requiring a runner to train 365 days a year in order to qualify for the race.

Monday I was at work when I began to hear news reports coming out of Boston, my husband’s hometown, stating there were explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. As I drove home, I turned on the news radio stations yet it was early and not much information was available.

As a registered nurse as I looked at the pictures, being tweeted and facebooked during the chaotic minutes and hours after the bombings and seeing the amount of blood on the sidewalks and streets was alarming. The spiraling pattern signified arterial bleeding from traumatic amputations and I knew the injured would likely be around 150 people hurt.

Sadly, three people confirmed dead, yet honestly, I am stunned that more people did not die that day. That in itself is a miracle. Over the last week, so much has happened in Boston. I feel so much sadness for the people targeted during the great race.

The true tragedy is the lives of our children who were present during Monday’s race, and how this frightening event will affect them as they grow into adulthood. The IED devices that exploded near the Boston Marathon’s finish line killed one child Martin Richard just 8 years old, and injured countless others, including Martin’s younger sister Jane who was six. Multiple news sources have reported many children suffering loss of limbs.

To train for the Boston marathon you must have a dream, a goal, and a desire to succeed in life. You do not sit on your ass, get up one day, buy a pair of running shoes, and go run the Boston Marathon. You get up day after day, rain wind, snow, sleet, heat or sun and you run. You work out and make choices to fuel your body with food that will sustain you during training and the race itself.

On Monday, someone or some group targeted America and the world when they planted bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street. The bombs hit runners and athletes where it will hurt the most, and reports of injuries include the lower extremities the legs, knees, shins, calves and feet. The shrapnel from the bombs that detonated hurt many people.

Parents and children, family and friends, husbands and wives, became separated in the crowds and were unable to contact each other when cell phone service was shut down. This was to prevent detonation of any other IEDs in the area. I though how do you plan for this kind of emergency? How do you find loved ones if separated? How do children reunite with mom or dad if lost in the crowd?

I am unsure of how to explain or train young children on what to do in this situation. I know there are armbands and devices that are worn on shoelaces that allow emergency information to be available to police and EMS. Parents can list contact information such as the parent’s name, address, and cell phone, yet what if the parent cannot be located.

In addition to parental information, one should consider listing at least one other relatives information who is not with the family. Although designed to help protect a child, it may be a good idea for anyone to wear them when traveling or attending a crowded event or out training for a marathon. This way the injured are identified quickly, allowing for faster notification of next of kin.

In addition, this may help prevent a case of mistaken identity as in the case of Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old woman who died Monday. Her friend had something that identified the woman as Krystle Campbell, and the mistake was not apparent until Krystle’s family came to the hospital. When they went in to see their injured daughter they quickly realized that the woman that survived was a friend of Krystle, and not their daughter.

My prayers go out to all the families who have lived in terror this week in the Boston area waiting for law enforcement to find and locate the persons responsible. Although this tragedy is hitting hard across the nation, anyone who knows someone who is a runner, knows this will not keep him or her down. They will survive, relearn how to walk and run, and they will show the cowards who hurt them that they did not win.

The winners are those who survived and who will persevere through this difficult time. Our children’s lives have changed but love will win out in the end and the love of a parent is so much stronger than any evil that walks this earth.
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Content copyright © 2013 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Erika Lyn Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Erika Lyn Smith for details.

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