By Jennifer Mehigan

One of the first directives Boston EMS Chief James Hooley gave after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon was for staff to alert hospitals of a potential mass casualty incident and to call for mutual aid. Eleven private ambulance services answered the call by immediately sending more than 40 ambulances to support Boston EMS and to help transport the injured to area hospitals.

Representatives from those services met with Boston EMS on the one month anniversary of the attack to discuss the incident in an after-action meeting. The group’s findings and recommendations will be included in a report that is being prepared about the response.

EMS partners

Within three minutes of the April 15 bombings, all Boston hospitals were notified of the mass casualty incident, and within five minutes mutual aid ambulance partners were asked to assist in the response. Boylston Street was cleared of patients in 18 minutes, and 90 patients from the scene were transported to area hospitals in approximately 30 minutes.

Conversation among the agencies at the debriefing session touched on how partners were notified of the mass casualty incident, how ambulances were staged at the scene, and how several other public safety agencies called in mutual aid partners of their own for support. Chief Hooley praised the speed and professionalism of Boston EMS’s mutual aid partners, highlighting communication and interagency cooperation on scene.

The ambulance services that aided in the response were Action Ambulance, American Ambulance, American Medical Response, Armstrong Ambulance, Brewster Ambulance, Cataldo Ambulance, EasCare Ambulance, Fallon Ambulance, LifeLine Ambulance, McCall Transportation, and Professional Ambulance.

Boston EMS is grateful that these partners answered the call and helped save lives that day.

Jennifer is the director of media relations for Boston EMS. To read more about Boston EMS, visit