Hospitals, volunteers preparing for a stricter Bridge Run

MUSC will distribute new bracelet IDs to children. (Photo: Thomas Malfrus/WCIV)

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The picturesque scene of the Cooper River Bridge Run has become famous in the Lowcountry. But the Boston Marathon bombing has cast a shadow over this year's race.

"We are coordinating at both city, county and state level. I am not at liberty to disclose all the different security factors put in place, however I will tell you it is substantially higher than it has ever been before," MUSC's Dr. Kathy Lehman-Huskamp said.

MUSC officials have been meeting all year with people at other hospitals as well as those with Bridge Run, she said. They've also been doing drills all year.

"We do mass-casualty drills, which means we do a large number of victims," Lehman-Huskamp said. "We also drill toward different hazardous exposures or toxic exposures. The last couple weeks we even did an active-shooter tabletop drill."

This year, the hospital will hand out bracelets at the kids' run. They will have phone numbers for parents to put on their kids in case they get separated.

"If you speak to people who responded to Boston, they will say it was one of the issues that were more difficult," she said.

She also recommended parents photograph their children the morning of the Bridge Run, so they have a recent photo in accurate clothing in case of separation or an emergency.

While MUSC has a plan, volunteer Rocky Vitali does not.

"I'm sure there's going to be more police on hand and more instructions but as of right now I know nothing," he said.

It's his third year volunteering.

"For the past two years, I've held the big sign that says stop and go," Vitali said.

But he said he hadn't gotten any new information.

Police said the 4,000 volunteers will be doing the same things they've done in the past. But this year, about 30 police officers will join them near the start line.