CodeRED mass notification assists during Boston Marathon attack

Boston agencies turned to CodeRED from OnSolve for to help manage crisis communications following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Keeping citizens informed post-attack

Less than thirty minutes after two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April 2013, multiple agencies within the Boston area utilized the massive dialing infrastructure of CodeRED from OnSolve to quickly send critical communications to both runners and the public.

In the first 24 hours following the incident, more than 228,000 calls, tens of thousands of texts and emails, in addition to 700 CodeRED Mobile Alert app notifications kept residents informed of critical public safety messages specific to their areas.

For one OnSolve client utilizing the CodeRED high-speed notification system, part of the marathon path took runners directly through his town of Newton, Mass. “The Boston Marathon goes through Newton, and it was enormously helpful to be able to utilize the CodeRED system in specific geographic areas on marathon day,” said Lt. Bruce Apotheker, spokesman for the Newton Police Department. “In addition, when the state advised a lockdown of Newton and neighboring communities on Friday, April 19th, the system was very useful in helping us to keep our residents informed throughout the day.”

Brookline Police Department in Massachusetts also relied on the proprietary technology behind CodeRED to deliver nearly 30,000 telephone calls specifically related to the Boston Marathon explosion. Their EMT Division initiated calls before 3:15 p.m., less than a half hour after the bombs exploded near the finish line.
The following day, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used the CodeRED system to notify students, faculty and staff of a suspicious package on campus. More than 20,000 calls were launched in 11 minutes and 18,000 text messages were sent in three minutes, allowing MIT to proactively communicate with their campus community during a time of heightened awareness and vigilance. MIT used the system to send a follow-up “all clear” message 15 minutes later, and the campus was again notified in just over 10 minutes.

Other CodeRED clients across Massachusetts including Lexington, Cambridge, Newton, Arlington and Plymouth proactively used the system to engage SWAT teams and deployments, “shelter in place” warnings to the community, among city transportation and office closure messages. Before noon on Friday, clients used the CodeRED infrastructure to deliver nearly 2 million calls, hundreds of thousands of text and email notifications, as well as thousands of notifications through the CodeRED Mobile Alert for location-specific smartphone alerts.

Because the OnSolve system is monitored 24/7 by live, in-house technical and client support teams, calls were initiated seamlessly, amid reported network congestion at critical times Monday, overnight Thursday and through Friday.