While the bombings in Boston were not part of the formal agenda, the tragedy was definitely on peoples' minds at Tuesday's Mass Fatality Management Conference in Portland.
The idea was to bring area first responders and political leaders to the Portland Community Center to discuss how they would handle a crisis involving multiple fatalities.
"We had this planned long before Boston happened yesterday, but it's really surreal to look at that," said Danielle Hale of Nueces County Emergency Management.
Among the topics discussed were how neighboring and, in some cases, overlapping agencies would respond, what their responsibilities would be, and what assistance would be available to the victims and their families.
First responders said they are prepared, but there is always room to learn more.
"It's like we tell everybody, you know, you've got to have a plan, and for us we definitely have to have a plan, and we've always had a plan in place," Portland Fire Chief Timothy Vanlandingham said. "This is going to give us a finer edge to that plan. It's going to help us so that we're prepared."
"It reinforces the work that we've done," said Chief Robert Rocha of the Corpus Christi Fire Department. "I feel confident in the preparation that the City has done in terms of being able to respond for the treatment, triage and transport of patients during a mass fatality incident. Mass casualty incident."
While the workshop had been planned months before Monday's bombings, organizers acknowledged that the situation in Boston does help to emphasize the importance of advance preparation.
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