Boston Marathon Explosions: How You Can Help and Stay Informed, Right Now

Chaos followed the explosions in Boston. Photo: Getty Images/Boston GlobeAfter a pair of deadly explosions tore through the Boston Marathon Monday, folks watching helplessly from afar were left scrambling to access information about loved ones’ safety, as well as details on ways to help (though if you’re in Boston, the best ways to be helpful, according to officials, are to remain at home and stay off your cell phone except for emergencies, instead using social media to contact family and friends). Yahoo! Shine will be updating this post with any new resources we can find as the situation unfolds.

Stay Informed
Following #BostonMarathon on Twitter is a great way to stay in the loop, as far as where to help and find help. The live blog at Boston.com will keep you up-to-date with live news coverage, tweets, video feeds and information on where to help. Also, follow Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency @MassEMA on Twitter for information on transportation closings and other logistics. Rebel Mouse has set up a Boston Marathon Explosions page, which is ground zero for tweets and other social-media posts about where to find and give various forms of help. And Reddit has threads both here and here filled with live updates on where and how to give or get assistance.

Follow Blood-Donation Instructions
The Red Cross has tweeted that "connecting with loved ones is the best way to help," and that there is "enough blood on shelves to meet demand," but that scheduling a time in the near future would be a good idea. Massachusetts General Hospital, meanwhile, has posted a Facebook message encouraging people do go to the hospital to donate as of 7:30am Tuesday.

Donate Money
While it's difficult to weed out which small collectors are real and scams right now (sad but true), you can always make a monetary donation to the Red Cross, which helps keep the organization well primed for disaster-relief missions.

Offer Your Home
If you live in Boston and have space to offer a stranded runner or his or her family or friends, you can offer it on this specially set-up Google site. Alternately, if you are stranded and are looking for a place to stay, you can search for one here. Airbnb has also set up an urgent-help page for folks who are stranded; if you've got a space to offer, please list it here.

Report Crime Tips to the Police or FBI
If you have any information regarding the perpetrators in the crime, report them to 1-800-494-TIPS. Also, the FBI said it had set up 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), prompt #3, for anyone who had information about or visual images of the explosions.

Find Loved Ones
Though most people have already located loved ones in the wake of the chaos, here are a few ways to do so just in case: The Red Cross has a "Safe and Well" page, on which you can either list yourself as safe and sound or search for the names of those you're concerned about. Google, meanwhile, has set up Person Find specifically for the Boston explosions. Also, Boston has set up a hotline for finding friends and family: 617-635-4500. Finally, you can text RUNNER to 345678 and you'll get a text back. You can then text back someone's bib number to get updates.