During South by Southwest, Austin Travis County EMS is making sure they can respond to emergency incidents downtown as quickly as possible. That's why they have a patient collection point set up on 5th and Congress for the rest of the week.
It's a city within a city. The Patient Collection Point set up by Austin Travis County EMS on 5th and Congress allows them to reach patients during SXSW faster.
"I think that makes a lot of sense because being from Austin, traffic is always an issue even if its not a medical emergency. I'm also a nurse, so I think about the influx of people and them being able to get care when they're here in town," says SXSW attendee.
EMS gets notified when someone in their Geo-Fenced area needs help, which covers most of downtown and Rainey Street. Then the patient is brought back to the collection point.
"We can reduce the time that it takes us to get to that patient, to provide them with the good care that they need and want, while also making sure that the ambulances and the 911 systems surrounding this, in the neighborhoods around, not only Central Austin but as we move out further, stay in their stations to respond to their neighborhoods," says Commander Kevin Parker, Austin Travis County EMS, special events.
It opened Tuesday with three special response units, two motorcycles and several medics on hand to assist. During Tuesday's 12-hour shift, Austin Travis County EMS says they responded to 14 incidents. They made contact with ten patients, one who was transported to the hospital and seven others treated on scene.
"Everything from falls, to just general sickness, to assaults, to overdoses," says Commander Parker.
It was four years ago when a man plowed through a barricade and through a crowd of SXSW concertgoers - killing four. First responders continue to prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
"Our main goal, for whether it's a normal 911 call or a mass casualty incident, is to get that patient to definitive care as soon as possible. So, our incident actions drive getting those critically ill or most severely injured patients to a hopital as quickly as we can," says Commander Parker.
Those attending SXSW know that with all the tragedies going on across the country, this type of center is a must.
"Tensions are higher now. ACL this year, the security was ramped up because it was right after the Nevada shooting and stuff. People are much more kind of on their toes at all times, like being cautious about what's going on at festivals. I guess this is kind of a response to that too, just trying to keep everybody safe," says SXSW attendee.