• Emergency management officials gather for first time since bombings


    WORCESTER, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – For the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings, emergency workers met at the Emergency Management Conference in Worcester to make sure they are prepared if disaster strikes again.

    The Fourth of July was reportedly the first target of bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They planned on targeting the Hatch Shell at the Boston Esplanade, which draws half a million people each year. Investigative sources say the brothers chose Marathon Monday instead after their bombs came together sooner than expected. 

    Ever since April 15, security experts and law enforcement have been working vigorously to make sure the annual event continues to be a safe and secure event for all.

    "They're looking for a lot of people which they can make casualties, and they're looking for the media and the cultural context that it will bring," David Glazebrook from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard said.

    The suspected bombers killed three people with their devices and injured almost 300. Security experts want to make sure the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is incident-free.

    "We began planning for July 4 really on April 16," Kurt Shwartz of the Mass. Emergency Management Agency, or MEMA, said.

    Special security experts have been called in to help at the Independence Day event. MEMA, along with state and local police, have been coordinating safety procedures and traveling to other states to learn new public safety techniques. Many of the techniques were shared at the annual statewide two-day conference.

    "Some of the security will be visible, and some will not, involving undercover officers, intelligence officers," Shwartz said.

    Emergency management officials say the tools in the field are extremely important in responding to acts of terrorism and preventing them, keeping crowds safe. In fact, MEMA uses this mobile emergency operations center to help law enforcement coordinate their efforts. The unit was used on the marathon route in Brookline the day of the bombings, and a similar unit will be used at the Hatch Shell on the Fourth of July,

    Shwartz said there is not a known credible threat against Boston in general for July 4, but any and all precautions are still being taken.

    "First, you have a lot of people there, which is a tough element itself. Also, you're gonna' have a lot of cameras on that area, and that's really what they'd be looking for," Glazebrook said.

    Law enforcement experts also say they will work to keep a balance between keeping people secure and allowing them to enjoy themselves, trying not to be too intrusive while performing security procedures.

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