Almost 4 years ago on 15th April 2013, double bombings near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon killed three people and injured over 260 bystanders. April 15th is known as ‘Patriots Day’ in the USA and the tragic loss of life and heroic efforts of first responders, the public and the victims of the attack has now been made into a movie of the same name starring Mark Whalberg.

The movie is a hard hitting re-enactment of those fateful Boston bombings and Everbridge recently invited customers and industry contacts from across London and the UK to an exclusive viewing of the film in Leicester Square’s Odeon cinema. Ahead of the showing, Everbridge reviewed what best practices can be learnt from the tragic event and looked ahead to the forthcoming London Marathon on 13th April.

Lessons Learned from the Boston Marathon Attacks

Crisis communication played a pivotal role in the events that followed the explosions, from the initial response to the city-wide lock down and apprehension of suspects. The City of Boston used Everbridge to call in additional police and firefighters, mobilize command posts, and direct essential personnel. Companies such as Pearson – an education services firm with offices fewer than two blocks from the first blast – used Everbridge to check on the safety of employees. The FBI sent messages to Boston residents to advise them to stay indoors whilst they moved through local areas in a bid to capture the attacker. Thanks to Everbridge, the roads remained clear meaning the attacker was caught quickly without any additional fatalities.

The impact of the Everbridge solution featured in an article in the Boston Globe shortly after the attacks.

A unified critical communications plan is essential to prepare for the unexpected. The implementation of a critical communications platform enabled Boston to coordinate one of the largest regional lock-downs in U.S. history. As a manhunt for the suspects was launched, Boston needed to ensure no more fatalities and that the suspects were caught as quickly as possible.
Multi-modal functionality enabled the City of Boston to send citizens instructions via social media, their mobile devices, tablets and computers. In times of crisis, networks are often overloaded with people trying to communicate with family and friends. This can cause significant strain and can lead to networks going down entirely. Cloud based critical communications systems such as Everbridge, which offer more than 100 different methods of communication, ensure the message always gets through – no matter what the circumstances are.

Thanks to Everbridge, within hours, citizens were sheltering behind locked doors and windows.

The need to protect citizens has never been  more important

Direct state to citizen communication is yet to be mirrored in the UK.

A recent BBC report highlighted that  security services ‘prevented 13 UK Terror Attacks since 2013’ – meaning the need to protect citizens has never been more important. With the annual London Marathon on the horizon, UK organizers need to review their communication strategies and learn from the City of Boston. Public event organizers and the UK Government have a duty of care to prepare for the worst.  With the threats associated with today’s terror landscape, reacting is no longer enough, preparation is key.
We thank those who joined us at the exclusive viewing of Patriots Day. If you would like to find out more about Everbridge’s role in the Boston bombings, please read our ‘Learning from Boston’ whitepaper and the Boston Globe article.