UMC EMS ambus responds to fires in Texas Panhandle

The UMC ambulance bus, or ambus, was deployed to the Texas Panhandle yesterday as part of the state’s emergency response to severe wildfire threats.

The state’s emergency officials activated the ambus team, one of 13 in the state of Texas. Crews were battling wildfires in Wheeler County and Pampa, and officials there considered evacuating Pampa Regional Medical Center. The activation was cancelled before the ambus reached Pampa.

The ambus can transport approximately 20 patients – more if sitting upright or fewer if in wheelchairs. The vehicle was purchased by UMC in 2012 with grant money provided by the state. The bus serves Emergency Medical Task Force 1 (EMTF 1) in the South Plains and Texas Panhandle.

“The big thing is really that one driver can replace 10 ambulances, and the patients can still receive the high level care they need,” said Gerad Troutman, medical director of UMC EMS.

The ambus offers full intensive care unit (ICU) capabilities, just like the ambulances operated by UMC EMS. Selected EMS personnel are assigned to three teams and are on call to man the bus.

UMC Health System is ranked among the top 10 percent of hospitals in the nation for patient experience by HealthGrades, and has consistently ranked among the best places to work in Texas by the Best Companies Group. More than 500,000 patients a year choose UMC.

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