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Austin's spring travel season to get busier following SXSW Day 3

The increase in travel comes nearly two weeks after Austin-Travis County EMS stationed paramedics at the airport to help cut down response times.

AUSTIN, Texas — South by Southwest (SXSW) has taken over the Downtown Austin area with tens of thousands of people coming in and out of the city – and the hustle and bustle has only gotten started.

A spokesperson with Austin's airport explained that by March 12 and 13, the airport anticipated a little more than 34,000 people to fly out on each day. The airport usually considers anything more than 25,000 people as "busy," according to officials. 

However, in 2021, the airport saw a record-breaking 45,000 travelers when Austin hosted Formula 1. As the airport prepares for the extra flow of traffic, paramedics with Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) are also on standby.

Currently, two paramedics are stationed at the airport as part of EMS's pilot program, which was launched on March 1, in partnership with the Department of Aviation. 

Since then, ATCEMS Chief Steve White said the agency has received more than 60 calls and medics have been able to respond to the majority of the calls.  

"We worked really hard to get to partner with the airport and have paramedics in the terminal before SXSW started. What we have found so far is that even with the increase in traffic, our call volume is holding pretty steady," White said.

White explained how navigating the terminal has been the biggest challenge, especially with the influx of people coming in and out for SXSW, but said medics will adjust where they need to. 

"We can handle two calls at one time. And we've had several instances over the first week of the program where we have had to have each paramedic operating on a different call for service," White said. "So, if we get into a situation where there's three or four calls for service at the airport, then what we'll do is just bring in other resources."

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