AUGUSTA — Since two bombs went off four years ago near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds of others, the state of Massachusetts has overhauled its annual preparations for the big race.

If the bombs had gone off in a different part of the 26-mile course, “many, many more people would have died,” said Kurt Schwartz, the director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, as he delivered a keynote address Wednesday at an annual conference of Maine’s emergency planners. “We thought we had a good plan (before 2013), but it didn’t take much to beat our plan.”

Since then, having spent millions of dollars, Massachusetts has tripled the number of bomb sniffing dogs at the race and hired many more police officers and emergency responders to work on race day. It’s started parking dump trucks near the course, to prevent cars from driving into the runners and the hundreds of thousands of people who watch the race.

In 2013, there was no emergency command structure in place in Boston, so responders had to make do in the back of an ambulance, then in the ballroom of a nearby hotel. Now the state has overhauled that command structure.

In 2013, a medical tent staffed with volunteer doctors was near the finish line when the bombs went off, to the great fortune of those who were seriously injured.

The marathon also led to changes in Maine’s protocols, said Bruce Fitzgerald, director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, after Schwartz had finished his address.

One of the big changes, Fitzgerald said, has been an ongoing campaign to get Mainers to report activity they think is suspicious, with the hope that it could stop a crime or prevent a devastating event.

But when there are events with many injuries in Maine, such as a 75-car pileup in the winter of 2015 on Interstate 95, Fitzgerald said the state has less money and manpower to call on than a state like Massachusetts.

“We don’t have anything on that scale,” Fitzgerald said, referring to the stepped-up preparations for the Boston Marathon. “Probably my biggest fear is some kind of mass casualty event. We can do all the preparing and planning, but if something happens, especially in more rural communities, hospitals and (emergency medical) systems would be overwhelmed pretty quickly. … Some of smaller hospitals have either very small (emergency rooms) or bed capacities, and they’re not going to take much to overwhelm them.”

In his address, Schwartz mentioned a number of changes the Bay State has made in its preparations for the marathon after the 2013 attack by two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They’ve included greater intelligence sharing with authorities before the race, the hiring of more police officers and emergency responders to work at the event, and the development of an emergency response strategy that’s hundreds of pages long.

Schwartz shared those details Wednesday on the second day of the Maine Emergency Management Agency’s annual conference at the Augusta Civic Center.

Another advantage to being in Boston was the proximity to many of the world’s best hospitals, Schwartz said in his speech. But after the 75-car pileup outside Bangor two years ago, the 17 people with injuries were taken by ambulances “in many different directions,” Fitzgerald said.

To prepare for events like those, Fitzgerald said the Maine Emergency Management Agency has been working with the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ambulance services and hospitals around the state to develop response strategies. The hospitals plan for when they have to evacuate patients and, if they are full, to send patients to other health care centers, Fitzgerald said.

When there are large events around Maine, such as the Beach to Beacon race in Cape Elizabeth or the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, Fitzgerald said county and regional emergency planners do make considerable preparations, but that the state is less involved in the local events than Massachusetts was before the Boston Marathon.

“It’s orders of magnitude in scale,” he said, referring to the relative smallness of events in Maine.

But Fitzgerald also didn’t discount the risk of different types of emergencies, whether natural or man-made, affecting Maine.

“I think the risk of terrorism can be seen everywhere,” he said. “One of newest is cybersecurity. It is happening everywhere. We’re not immune from that. We do a risk assessment every year, looking at natural hazards and trying to scale the preparedness for those types of events.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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