Austin (KXAN) — Wednesday marked the first day of Austin-Travis County EMS and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s pilot program, which stations paramedics inside the airport.
The team of paramedics is currently stationed in a temporary site near baggage claim as a more permanent staging area is built.
Stephen White, Division Chief of Integrated Services for the new paramedic team, said they have every tool they’d also have inside an ambulance.
“They have the highest level of care that we can provide in the system out here at the airport. They’ve also received extended training, that is airport specific flight specific hazardous materials, infectious disease, they’ve had a lot of extra training for this position,” White said.
White said this on-site team will also keep emergency resources where they’re better needed.
He said ambulances staged off East Ben White Boulevard would typically respond to airport calls but now that team can stay in the field.
“We’re gonna be able to keep those assets outside into the system available for calls in their neighborhoods,” White said.
This is only a pilot program – the paramedics could be redistributed in the future.
Sam Haynes, a spokesperson for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, said both agencies wanted to launch the program before travel picks up with SXSW this month.
She said with more foot traffic comes the possibility of more emergencies and now with paramedics on site, response times will be much more fast.
“Emergencies can happen anytime, anyplace, of course, and the airport is not exempt from that,” Haynes said.