This is a guest blog post from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
The 120th running of the Boston Marathon will be held on Patriot’s Day, Monday, April 18, 2016. This year, 30,000 registered participants will run the 26.2-mile course, which starts in Hopkinton and passes through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, and Brookline before culminating at the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston. Up to 1 million spectators will line the streets to watch this year’s marathon.
Local, regional, state, and federal public safety partners have collaborated to develop a comprehensive, layered safety and security plan that maintains the traditional family-oriented character and environment of this historic event.
Public safety officials ask spectators to follow reasonable and commonsense guidelines when traveling to the area and cheering on the runners along the marathon course. These guidelines will help ensure a safe and secure day:
- Spectators watching the 2016 Boston Marathon from anywhere along the 26.2-mile course should expect a significant presence of uniformed and plainclothes police officers. Spectators approaching viewing areas on the course may be asked to pass through security checkpoints, and law enforcement officers or contracted private security personnel may ask to inspect bags and other items. Spectators are asked NOT to carry backpacks, other over-the-shoulder bags, or bulky items. In addition, spectators should not bring weapons, suitcases, coolers, glass containers, large packages, costumes, or other props to the course. For a complete list of items that should be left at home, see the Policies for 2016 Boston Marathon Spectators and Participants.
- Spectators who must carry personal items with them are encouraged to use clear plastic bags to do so, which will enhance public safety and speed security screening. In all cases, spectators should keep their personal items under their immediate control at all times.
- The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) and all public safety agencies supporting the Boston Marathon encourage the public to actively participate in the “See Something, Say Something” campaign. Spectators should be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious behavior, activity, or items to the closest law enforcement officer or by calling 9-1-1.
- MEMA and the BAA are partnering to ensure that runners and spectators receive important information in a timely manner. Spectators are encouraged to download the MEMA Massachusetts Alerts app, which provides real-time emergency notifications and public safety information to Android smartphones and iPhones. During the Boston Marathon, MEMA will use Massachusetts Alerts to share public safety updates, including severe weather and emergency information, with runners and spectators.
- The entire route of the Boston Marathon will be a “No Drone Zone.” The public is advised NOT to operate any type of drone (unmanned aerial vehicle) over or near the course or anywhere within sight of runners or spectators.
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