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ATCEMS prepares ahead of ACL 2019

The agency said it treats ACL like every other special event.

AUSTIN, Texas — We're just days away from the biggest music festival in Austin – and first responders said they're prepared to take on the big crowds.

Weekend One of the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival begins Friday at Zilker Park in South Austin. 

You can expect to see a heavy presence from Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS), according to Cpt. Christa Stedman.

"We have dedicated on-site ambulances and special response units, which are six-wheeled ATVs, all-terrain vehicles," Stedman said.

Each ATV, which will help crews get around Zilker Park more easily, will carry medics, equipment and a stretcher.

Stedman said the agency treats ACL like every other special event.


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"We're going see heat-related incidents, we're going to see chest pains, we're going to see respiratory events, we're going to see trauma, someone trips and falls and breaks an arm," she said. "It really is the same amount and the same type of calls that we see on the street, just in a very small area."

Because of the hot temperatures, Stedman expects many of the calls they receive will be heat-related. She wants people to remember to drink water before they arrive at the park, stay hydrated at the festival, eat and take breaks in the shade.

Days before the beginning of the festival, the Austin Police Department issued a warning about a potentially lethal batch of drugs that killed at least one person and sent two others to the hospital early Saturday morning. Police said all three took what is known as "Molly," "X" or "ecstasy" before overdosing. They believe the possibly tainted drugs are being sold in Austin.

If you see someone experiencing a medical emergency at the festival, here's what Stedman recommended you do:

"The obvious thing to do is to call 911," she said. "Aside from that, our dispatchers are actually trained EMTs, so they will have very specific pre-arrival instructions, depending on what the complaint is."

The ACL gates open at noon on Friday.

WATCH: How much money the ACL fest brought the city of Austin


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