AUSTIN - Following a mass shooting at a festival in Las Vegas that killed at least 59 and injured more than 500 people, Austin-Travis County EMS is preparing for Austin City Limits Festival, which kicks off this weekend.
According to ATCEMS at a press briefing Tuesday, staffing will be "increased slightly." A representative said he will not give a specific number in the increase, but that festival goers will see medics in view and that there will be other medics behind the scenes ready to respond to anything.
EMS said not only will they have extra staff but if needed, they will have an ambulance bus on stand by. It can carry up to 20 patients at a time and is used specifically in mass casualty situations.
EMS will also staff command posts with command medics as to not clog up the 911 system. So if something goes wrong at the concert, they can just radio for help.
And if a mass casualty situation happens, where there are hundreds of patients, EMS said medics would be taking the injured to dozens of area hospitals because lives are on the line.
"We will initially ensure the scene is safe with the police department in collaboration with them. We'll also begin to do our triage tags where we will tag patients and we will begin to prioritize those patients who will go to the hospital first as to not move the mass casualty incident from the scene to one hospital and in essence shutting it down," said Wesley Hopkins, ATCEMS Division Chief.
Ron Weaver is with the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
"In past casualty events where hospitals were inundated with all levels, of patients, those people who were not high level were delayed and this way we/re ensuring they're all getting treatment," said Weaver.
Austin police held a press conference Monday to let festival attendees know they are increasing presence, but that they should know the "escape route."
ATCEMS said they do not anticipate any problems at the festival, but they are having heightened awareness.
Should anything go awry, ATCEMS said they will have medics on the scene immediately, they will ensure the scene is safe with police, they will tag patients and then they will prioritize those patients. Authorities will then ensure trauma patients get the appropriate level of care as fast as possible. ATCEMS undergoes training four times per year.
ATCEMS advised that everybody -- whether they are from Austin or are from out of state -- needs to know their surroundings. Festival goers need to know where the exit gates are in relation to them at all times.
Festival goers should have their phones charged and should not be afraid to approach authorities if they see anything abnormal.
Watch the full press conference below or here:
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