By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Boston, Mass. police commissioner today addressed hundreds of fellow police chiefs meeting in Philadelphia, with lessons learned and warnings based on the Boston Marathon bombings of last April.

Commissioner Edward Davis also shared his personal account of that deadly and dreadful day, during a talk at the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Davis says he was near the finish line with his wife and watched the elite runners go by.  And then, perhaps fortuitously, they left the area.

(sounds of explosion and screaming.   Bystander:  “Something blew up!”)

Davis says the terror training, the table-top exercises, the coordination among agencies turned out to be critically important.  But, he adds, the response to the events began with the improvisation of the first responders.

“Officer Tom Barrett approached one of the victims, who was on fire, and Tommy used gloved hands to put the fire out.  Officer Lauren Smyth is so new she hasn’t even gone to court yet, but she found herself tying tourniquets on amputated limbs,” Davis (below right) told the gathering.

(Edward Davis, on video screen during his talk.)

(Edward Davis, on video screen during his talk.)

He says those efforts were critical in saving lives but notes there were cell phone and other communication equipment issues.  And that, he says, is a lesson law enforcement should take very seriously.