EMS 'Am-Bus' helps save nine prisoners

Austin-Travis County EMS saved nine prisoners on board a transport van on Thursday. The van's air conditioning broke down and several prisoners suffered heat-related illness.

Photos of Travis County's largest ambulance in action surfaced on Thursday night.

"(The) Austin-Travis County EMS Am-Bus was requested to Caldwell County. They had a passenger van that was transporting prisoners from South Texas to North Texas that the AC went out on the van," Commander Keith Noble, of Austin-Travis County EMS, said.

Nine prisoners began suffering from heat related illness. Commander Noble drives one of the 13 Am-Busses in the state of Texas.

"We can provide full ALS (advanced life support care) on the Am-bus. Just like we would in a normal ambulance, we carry all of the same equipment that we normally do on a regular ambulance we just have a lot more of it," Noble said.

Noble said the Am-Bus can hold up to 20 patients at one time and the bus not only helps consolidate resources but it also helps reduce wait times for treatment.

"We took the place of basically five or six ambulances. We were able to do with one vehicle what would normally take five or six ambulances." Noble said, "We were able to treat them on scene and then treat them while in the bus and transport them to the hospital fairly quickly and efficiently."

The Am-Bus was purchased back in 2013 as a part of the Homeland Security Grant. It covers up to 27 counties in Central Texas and parts of West Texas and so far its living up to its $500,000 bill.

"When you think about it, it can take the place of 10 ambulances at a time, it is a pretty good value for the funding," Noble said.

The prisoners were taken to Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos via the Am-bus. They were all treated and are expected to make full recoveries.