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Courts and Crime

Boston first responders share marathon bombing experience in Cleveland
Cleveland area police, fire and EMS learn how their Boston counterparts are coping with the emotional toll

Kevin Niedermier
First responders at the scene of last April's Boston Marathon bombing.
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The first responders who treated victims and pursued the suspects in last spring' deadly Boston Marathon bombing are healing emotionally from the stress they suffered. Members of that city' police, fire and EMS departments were in Cleveland today to share what they learned with area first responders.

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Boston Fire Department Lt. Charles Popp heads that unit’s “Critical Incident Response Service.” The service provided hundreds of hours of mental health counseling for the thousands of marathon bombing first responders.  Popp says starting the therapy within hours of the incident has helped ease the trauma of dealing with the carnage and three-day manhunt.

“We’ve had a minimal amount of lost time from people involved, and some people were pretty significantly involved. We had officers who were knocked off their feet by the blast. And, we haven’t really seen any uptick in problems related to the marathon, or related to reaction to it.  Any event, whether it’s the trial or an anniversary event, they all kind of reinitiate the process for people at some level.  So I suspect that with any event, some people might start struggling a little bit more. But, generally speaking, if we’ve done our job correctly, events like the anniversary or the trial shouldn’t affect them that much.”

Three people were killed and more than 140 were injured in the Boston blasts. Parma Police Chief Robert Miller says nothing like that has happened in his city, but, at times, Parma’s first responders still need mental health support.

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