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EMS responds to 147 calls in downtown Austin for SXSW


EMS responds to 147 calls for SXSW

For its fifth year running, Austin-Travis County EMS has turned downtown Austin into its own mini-city during the South by Southwest musical festival, setting up special stations and protocols to respond to emergency situations in the festival’s most music-popping districts.

This year, between 3 p.m. Tuesday and 3 a.m. Saturday, medics responded to a total of 147 incidents in the areas between First and Seventh Streets, Lavaca Street and Interstate 35, East Fifth and Sixth streets and the Rainey Street district. They received the most calls — a total of 51 — on Friday night, which was St. Patrick’s Day and also the first weekend night of the music festival.

Most incidents were reported in the Sixth Street area, between Brazos Street and Interstate 35, data shows.

According to EMS Commander Mike Benavides, the downtown music districts were “geofenced,” meaning officials set up an electronic grid to automatically route emergency calls from those areas to a special dispatcher in the city’s Event Operations Center.

It’s a way to keep the city’s day-to-day resources on hand for city residents while employing separate resources for festival-related incidents, he said.

Officials manually turn on the geofence between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, then manually shut it off early Sunday morning. It’s the fifth year EMS has used the special system.

Last year, there were 151 reported medical incidents during SXSW.

— Mary Huber, American-Statesman


Crash leaves one injured

A teenager was seriously injured Saturday afternoon when she was partially thrown from her car and then pinned beneath as it crashed down an embankment near McKinney Falls State Park.

Her injuries are not expected to be life-threatening, Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Services spokesman Michael Benavides said. She was taken to the South Austin Medical Center for treatment.

Benavides declined to provide anymore information about the victim to protect her privacy.

Emergency responders were called to the scene at the 5800 block of McKinney Falls Parkway to respond to a pin-in accident, shortly after 5:15pm. The victim was partially ejected from her car as went off the road and and then pinned beneath it as it crashed into an embankment below.

— Nolan Hicks, American-Statesman

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