As everyone awaits more information about the explosions at the Boston Marathon — such as the names of the injured and the cause of the blasts — bandwidth issues are limiting cell access for people scrambling to reach their loved ones. Here are a few helpful resources for those who are looking for someone and can't get through, and for those around Boston who are looking for ways to help.
Where to find information about your loved ones:
Officials are recommending you try texting loved ones, as bandwidth issues are clogging cell reception. If you still can't get through, the Boston Police has provided two phone numbers. If you're looking for family members, call 617-635-4500. To report information: 800-494-TIPS.
Google's Person Finder: Boston Marathon Explosions is another resource. It provides two services: "I'm looking for someone" and "I have information about someone," and allows people to cross-check their info.
The American Red Cross also provides a "Safe and Well" page, where people without phone access can register to let friends and relatives know they're okay.
If those don't provide results, you can try the Boston Marathon's Athlete Tracker, and type in your person's name. It should show what time the runner finished and help you gauge where they were at the time of the explosions.
Where you can donate blood:
If you're in Boston and looking for a way to help, try the Red Cross for a list of locations where they accept blood donations. One center not far from the explosions is on 274 Tremont Street. It may be useful to call ahead and ask about capacity — 617-556-2200.
You can also call ahead to Boston Hospitals, listed here, to find out if they need blood as well.
Where to go for facts:
If you're overwhelmed by the onslaught of (sometimes dubious) reports coming through Twitter and news sites, check out The Boston Police Department's Twitter feed for quick reliable updates as they come in.
Additionally, the New York Times has removed its paywall and is allowing people to access all stories about the marathon as they develop. And the Boston Globe — the city's biggest newspaper — is providing wall-to-wall coverage, and has tons of reporters and photographers on the ground.