Austin is home to some very big events: Texas Football, Austin City Limits, South By Southwest and the new Formula One racing.
Six Texas football games play in Austin this year, drawing about 100,000 each Saturday. The Austin City Limits Music Festival in October will draw somewhere close to 200,000 people during a three-day festival and even more are expected during the F1 race coming in November.
To service those type of crowds in an emergency, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services is now turning to a bigger and better tool to help them transport more injured people.
"Each ambulance can routinely take two victims," said Mike Elliott of ATCEMS. "This bus frees up 10 ambulances that could otherwise be used at a large incident where you're needing to transport multiple victims."
The bus, at a cost of nearly $500,000 (including purchase and modification) was funded 100 percent by a Homeland Security grant. EMS staff said they're still trying to figure out the details of how and where it will be used but said it would always be ready to respond quickly.
"We don't necessarily put it at the venue but we'll have it staffed. It could respond quickly in the event that something bad happened there," said Elliott.
Emergency officials said Austin is a booming community which needs to step up to big-city needs.
"It puts us in a position to deal in an event of a mass casualty incident," said Warren Hassinger of the ATCEMS. "Whether it be a school bus collision or something that was similar to what happened in Colorado with the shooting or mass incident downtown -- a hurricane would be a perfect example."
Calls to ATCEMS have increased more than 10 percent this year from the year before -- which also means the need for more paramedics and other EMS staff.
ATCEMS revenue collected from special events and patient transports is projected to be about $18 million next year compared to $16.5 million this year.