State has detailed emergency response plan in place
"Obviously, after 9/11 our whole world changed," said Perry Plummer, acting director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "We've made a lot of changes on both hard and soft targets across our state."
And what happened last week at the Boston Marathon will likely change those plans once again, he said.
After every large-scale event, whether a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, the Federal Emergency Management Agency puts together an "after-action" report that goes out to emergency planners in every state, Plummer said. "We are always trying to get better by learning from other people's disasters."
Plummer, a former Dover fire chief, said New Hampshire residents should know the state has plans for "mass-casualty" incidents that would bring emergency medical personnel, police and a host of other resources to the scene.
There are mutual aid agreements among towns, states and even internationally, bringing help from Canada if need be. "We have agreements to get resources here should we need them in a timely manner," Plummer said. "So those plans are in effect and they are exercised on a pretty regular basis."
The events that unfolded in and around Boston last week have left many shaken, and asking: Is New Hampshire safe?
"I think we're as safe as we possibly can be," Plummer said.
"The truth of the matter is you can't protect for everything, nor would I think the general public would want us to," he said. "There's a balance between my freedom and openness to move around and have a happy life, and keeping me safe. We try to walk that line very carefully."
Despite what happened at the Boston Marathon, Plummer said Granite Staters shouldn't be afraid to attend a big event this summer, whether an outdoor concert or a race in Loudon. "The truth of the matter is, if there is a true, bona fide threat, someone is going to shut the venue down," he said.
"If you are scheduled to go somewhere and you haven't heard there's a threat or a problem, then go and enjoy it."
"Live your life and enjoy, because these incidents are few and far between."
And Plummer said there are law enforcement agencies, both state and local, working every day to prevent things from happening and keep the state safe.
"The fact that you and I can go downtown on a Saturday night, have dinner with friends, go home and never worry about it speaks to the effectiveness of our law enforcement service in the state," he said. "Just that fact right there tells you the job they're doing."