We are still a few months away from hurricane season, but accidents involving a large number of injuries could happen at any time.
It is good to know that there is a plan in place for such an emergency, especially when it comes to transporting the injured.
That plan involves a massive, decked out bus turned high-tech ambulance. It's the Texas Emergency Management Task Force's Mass Casualty Evacuation Ambulance, and on Tuesday, it visited area hospitals for a specific reason.
"Education and training," said Jennifer Carr, trauma program manager for the Corpus Christi Medical Center. "They want to be familiar with how the layout of our facilities are. Our parking lots and loading, and unloading. They want the staff to be familiar, to know that when they arrive, the staff knows what to do. To come out and get these patients off of the AMBUS so that they can go back and serve more patients."
It was more than just a visit. It was an opportunity to familiarize hospital emergency medical staff with how the specialized ambulance works.
"We can use it for a hospital evacuation. We can respond to a motor vehicle accident with multiple casualties. We can use it for a fire rehab," said Danny Ramirez, crew chief of the AMBUS. "So any kind of situation where we need it, we can configure the bus and respond to the incident."
A total of 13 mass casualty buses are strategically based throughout the state of Texas. The bus that toured area hospitals on Tuesday is based out of Willacy County and serves the Coastal Bend.
"Basically, when local resources are exhausted, in other words it's an incident that merits this resource, like anything else you dial 911. They're scripted to then refer it to the proper folks who then get it moving," said Rick Adams, executive director of the Coastal Bend Regional Advisory Council. "It'll be moving within 20 minutes with a crew chief and a driver, meeting up with the paramedics on route."
The AMBUS has only been used once in the Valley, but others like it have been pressed into action in other areas of the state.