Austin Travis County EMS released video of one of their specialized teams responding to calls during the South by Southwest Festival. EMS said they responded to more than 100 patients during music portion of the festival and because of a couple paramedics who are specially trained, they were able to quickly address incidents in a different way.
Swerving through cars, driving on sidewalks, dodging people and barreling through barricades is just a normal day of for an ATC EMS Motor Paramedic during SXSW. EMS tweeted after the festival and said during a 5-day period medics responded to 147 incidents, resulting in 100 patients, and 54 transports. Kevin Parker is a Commander for ATC EMS “It runs the gamut from chest pain, shortness of breath, falls, assaults, some over doses, it was everything you would see out in the city on a normal day,” he said.
Parker said getting to patients quickly though isn't always easy in large crowds, like during Southby. The motor paramedics had their work cut out for them while the festival was here. “We always look to how can we rapidly access a patient so we can start providing them care as quickly as possible.” Depending on the emergency, Commander Parker said time can be critical when responding. “For every minute you get there faster that person has a 10 percent chance of survival,” he said.
That's why EMS has a specialized motor paramedic crew who are able to quickly navigate crowds and obstacles of any size. “They are very maneuverable, low profile, but also highly visible at the same time, so crowds know to avoid them and to let them through.” Parker said these motor paramedics are crucial not just during large festivals but every day and he’s happy to release video showing them in service. “I think it's all about letting the public know how we serve them and then the capabilities we can bring to events that they may be attending or they may be having family members attending to keep them safe.”
Parker said they have 10 motor paramedics and the team goes through an extensive three week long certification course, in addition to quarterly training. The medics also go through recertification every year to show they are capable of maintaining the skills to be a motor paramedic.