MEMA director praises emergency responders - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

MEMA director praises emergency responders in testimony on marathon bombings

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BOSTON ( -- The director of the Mass. Emergency Management Agency is sharing his high praise for the emergency response in the aftermath of the marathon bombings with the House Homeland Security Committee Thursday.

In his written testimony, Kurt Schwartz credits post-9/11 investments intended to enhance homeland security in Massachusetts, as well as interoperability among emergency personnel, for what he calls the "incredible" response following the April 15 bombings that killed three and injured more than 260 others.

"On April 15th, the public safety community was prepared," says Schwartz.

Schwartz says interoperable radio systems were of particular importance during the response as cell phone towers and land lines were overloaded in the hours immediately following the blasts.

The MEMA chief briefly mentions a mock drill conducted by emergency teams in 2012 that centered on a potential bombing at the Boston Marathon. Schwartz says training such as this allows first responders to "hone specialized skills and gain familiarity with responders from other areas who may be called in for support under mutual aid agreements."

Schwartz also praises the public for their role in assisting the emergency response.

"The response by the public - bystanders, witnesses, and volunteers - in those moments after the blast was nothing short of remarkable," says Schwartz. "This sense of community and empowerment to take care of our own was demonstrative of the way our Commonwealth has come together in this time of shock and tragedy."

While Schwartz says both he and Gov. Deval Patrick have tremendous pride in the public safety officials who worked tirelessly in the hours and days following the bombings, he says the state welcomes an after action review of the response and recovery efforts.

"We welcome and support a full review, not because we have a basis to believe that the system did not work, but because an event of this magnitude and tragedy requires that we gather and analyze all of the facts and determine what worked, what might not have worked, and if there are areas for improvement," says Schwartz.

To read Schwartz's full written testimony, click here.

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