EMS gears up for last days of SXSW and St. Patty's Day

As SXSW wraps up this weekend EMS are working to keep concertgoers safe.

Their goal is to provide quick medical care in case of an emergency, and ease the burden on local emergency rooms.

As thousands of concertgoers are making their way downtown to wrap up 2018’s SXSW that officially ends this Sunday Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services are ramping up.

“I’ll probably go to a couple shows and just hangout out on the strip tonight with my friends,” said Vinson Vactor. 

Before visitors say their final goodbye festival goers are welcoming St. Patrick’s day. 

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Division Chief Wesley Hopkins said the number of patients headed their way this weekend will increase. “We anticipate our calls will escalate Tuesday through Saturday we will run a little more calls each day,” said Hopkins.

ATCEMS are preparing by bringing in extra medics and supplies, including motorcycles, four-wheelers and a tent to lighten the load for hospitals. “Patients will be treated here at fifth and Congress and never go to hospital. To not touch the 911 system and that takes the burden from local emergency department,” said Hopkins. 

Medics will treat as many people as possible at their mobile collection post downtown. “General medical calls that you would see at other 911 setting made worse by the heat or being outside or in large crowds.”

Officials say they’re prepared for a disaster of any scale.

“We are deploying safety equipment so when there in the crowd whether it be a bullet proof vest or helmets things like that. You want to be prepared for anything.” 

Including the worse. Four years ago a man plowed through a barricade and through a crowd of SXSW concertgoers killing four and injuring others. 

“A couple years ago someone drove into the crowd I’m always aware what is going on around me how I can get out if there’s a fire or an accident happens,” said Kelly Slaton. 

Slaton and her friends were out Friday to catch the tail end of the festival however before doing so she said safety is always practiced. “I look everywhere to see what’s around me and to make sure I’m in a safe place,” said Slaton. 

She said having events organized help keep order especially when there are thousands of people coming to enjoy the events. “There would be more injuries if there was no rhyme or reason to the chaos,” said Slaton. 

All medics will not only be well equipped to help and take care of others. “We run this like a city within a city. We come with our own power, food, and water.  We keep our medics hydrated,” said Hopkins.