Crisis Medicine


The medical community response in Oklahoma City was unprecedented. Nearby medical facilities including St. Anthony, Presbyterian, University, and Children’s Hospitals immediately initiated their crisis management plans. Staff cleared operating rooms and emergency rooms in preparation for trauma patients. EMTs, paramedics, doctors, and nurses arrived on scene within minutes of the bombing. Medical responders quickly set up triage centers near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Sadly, one of the rescue workers – nurse Rebecca Anderson – was hit by falling debris and later died from her injury.The selflessness of the medical community that day saved many lives. Her story and several like it can be found in Chapter 4 of the Memorial Museum.

Within 15 minutes of the blast, EMSA had committed all 34 of its ambulances to the disaster.

Hospital Preparedness and Response

Hospitals were included in the 1994 Emergency Management Institute training in Emmitsburg, MD. Immediately, they changed their code level, which signaled them to call in personnel, and coordinate communication with ambulance services. Hospitals were utilized on proximity and availability.

One major challenge hospitals faced during the aftermath of the bombing was providing a singular information point of contact to family members, survivors and media. These groups inundated hospitals looking for loved ones and information.