Resources Available for Local and State Public Health Officials: Preparing for and Responding to Bombing Events

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Distributed via the CDC Health Alert Network
April 17, 2013, 4:58 p.m. EDT

Background and Summary

Boston health officials are dealing with the immediate aftermath of two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on the afternoon of April 15, 2013. CDC offers resources that may help local or state health officials prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the health effects of bombings, and other mass casualty events.

Mass Casualty Event Preparedness and Response

CDC’s “Mass Casualty Event Preparedness and Response” website, available at, is the primary location for resources for the general public and for health professionals. Public health officials can assist in disseminating the following resources to the audiences who need them.

Information for the General Public

The following resources on the “Mass Casualty Event Preparedness and Response” website offer information for the general public about bombings, and injuries and stress associated with mass casualty events:

Information for Health Professionals

The following resources on the “Mass Casualty Event Preparedness and Response” website offer information for health professionals about treating injuries and stress in patients affected by mass casualty events, as well as other resources for professionals:

Fact Sheets

Guidance and Planning Documents

Data Collection and Planning Tools


“Blast Preparedness and Response Training and Continuing Education,” available at

Coping with Trauma

The effects of a disaster, terrorist attack, or other public health emergency can be long-lasting, and the resulting trauma can affect those not directly impacted by the disaster. CDC’s “Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event” web page, available at, lists resources that provide general strategies for promoting mental health and resilience. These materials were developed by various organizations on the basis of experiences in prior emergencies.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Resources

The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline, available at , provides 24/7, year-round crisis counseling and support for persons experiencing signs of distress as a result of disaster:

  • Call 1-800-985-5990
  • Call TTY for deaf/hearing impaired 1-800-846-8517
  • Text TalkWithUs to 66746

SAMHSA has additional resources on dealing with disaster at the SAMHSA website, .

For More Information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

Department of Health and Human Services

HAN Message Types

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance about a public health incident.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information about a public health incident.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information about a public health incident.

This message was distributed to state and local health officers, state and local epidemiologists, state and local laboratory directors, public information officers, HAN coordinators, and clinician organizations.