AUSTIN, Texas — As South by Southwest (SXSW) events continue and spring festival season kicks into gear, Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) has designed a makeshift field hospital equipped with all the resources needed to treat patients in the downtown area.
"We set up what we call a geofenced area around the downtown corridor where all the festival activities are happening, and we're able to manage 911 calls coming out of that geographic area just with our special event resources," ATCEMS Commander Eric Gordon said.
The purpose is for medics to get to patients faster while also allowing ambulances to remain available for calls in their normal response districts.
"Spring festival season draws hundreds of thousands of people down here. Road closures that are all around, that makes it very difficult for ambulances to get around, which is why we use all of our vehicles here," Gordon said.
Gordon said ATCEMS currently has two motorcycle medics, three response units, four medics on the ground and two ambulances.
Staffing for the field hospital started on March 14 and will last through March 18 from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m.
"We love to see the people come together, and this is such a great city bringing all those people down. We just want people to be safe, be smart, don't drink and drive. We want you guys to have fun. Enjoy the city. Phone a friend if you need to. We're out here to help," Gordon said.
On Tuesday, the ATCEMS response team reported 12 incidents, with nine patients treated and two transports.