Texas ambulance bus used in two recent mass casualty events
The San Antonio Fire Department’s AMBUS is part of the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force; it can carry 24 patients in seats or 20 patients in beds
By Leila Merrill
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Fire Department’s AMBUS has been in service for about a decade and has been used in responses to two recent mass casualty events.
More than 60 firefighters, 20 fire engines, 10 medical units, and SAFD’s ambulance bus, or AMBUS, responded on June 27 when dozens of people were found dead and many others had heat-related illnesses.
The AMBUS is part of the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force, a statewide group, according to Joe Arrington, public information officer for SAFD.
The Texas Emergency Medical Task Force website states that the primary mission of the AMBUS is to “provide advanced medical transport and evacuation services for a large-scale disaster.” The AMBUS also can be used for rehab for fire crews on scene and as a mobile ICU to treat injured people.
Each AMBUS can carry 24 patients in seats or 20 patients in beds. The AMBUS is designed to include a driver and at least four medics on board.
The AMBUS also can be used to transport the deceased, and it was in these two recent incidents.
“It’s frustrating to know that we weren’t able to do more, but at the same time, knowing that they can be moved in a dignified manner, we can give them the respect they deserve,” Arrington said.