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SXSW is serious business for medics keeping an eye on festival goers

Austin-Travis County EMS has a plan of action to keep people safe during South by Southwest. (KEYE TV)

Austin-Travis County EMS has a plan of action to keep people safe during South by Southwest.

The party at SXSW is serious business for medics keeping an eye on festival goers. The 'casualty collection point' at 5th and Congress is where they are on standby for anything from bumps and bruises to a mass casualty event like we saw in 2014.

On the night that Rashad Owens slammed into the crowd at SXSW in 2014 there was chaos. But not for Austin-Travis County EMS. That's because 2014 was the first year the agency used the SXSW response plan they have in place this year.

It's pretty simple. Medics on motorcycles and other small vehicles respond to calls for help amidst the crowds and traffic. "They bring them back to the casualty collection points where we have medics that are staged here to do further treatment," says Asst. Chief of Operations James Hawley, ATCEMS.

That puts the mobile medics back out on the street faster. And it keeps Austinites not at South By safer, too. "Keeps us from using our typical 9-1-1 ambulances from 9-1-1 calls going on outside. It keeps us from being an added burden," Hawley says.

Wednesday night ATCEMS responded to 18 calls at SXSW. They expect to see more as we head into the weekend and St. Patrick's Day.


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