EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 17, 2013

Finish line volunteer ends up working triage

At North Station a different reality began to peek through the typical commute. Two men in green camouflage and bulging packs walked among the coffee and newspaper kiosks. A policeman led a dog through the streaming commuters, surreptitiously walking close to bags and small groups of people.

NORTH ANDOVER — Emily Moldoff, an emergency medical technician who aspires to be a physician’s assistant, said she looks forward to volunteering her services each year at the Boston Marathon finish line.

The Salem, N.H., resident, who will soon graduate from Merrimack College with a degree in health sciences, said she was “really excited” when she was asked to be a sweep team captain, coordinating a group of 20 or so care providers in guiding injured runners to one of the medical tents and determining what treatment they need.

She got more than she bargained for Monday afternoon. When she heard the first explosion, at 2:50 p.m., she asked, “Are you kidding? Is it thundering?”

When she heard the second bang a few minutes later, she thought it might have come from construction taking place nearby.

“Then I heard the sirens,” she recalled. A police officer told her there had been an explosion, but he knew nothing beyond that, she said.

So she ran to one of the medical tents, where she saw people being loaded onto ambulances.

“It was very chaotic,” she said. “There were patients on cots everywhere.” Most of them, she noted, were not runners.

Moldoff, 22, has been an EMT for four years. Nothing in her work experience prepared her for Monday’s disaster.

“I have never been involved in a massive triage,” she said. Many of the victims had leg injuries and “were losing a lot of blood,” she said.

Some of them applied tourniquets to themselves, she added.

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