Nashville Is Getting Its First ‘Ambubus’ For Mass-Casualty Disasters | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Is Getting Its First ‘Ambubus’ For Mass-Casualty Disasters

Oct 3, 2018

A federal grant will pay to retrofit an old school bus for use in a natural disaster or other catastrophe. The Metro Council officially accepted the $84,000 this week.

First responders are still working out the details for Nashville's "ambubus." But it should be able to hold a dozen patients, though typically not the most critical. The vehicle is more for the walking wounded.

"Trauma needs so much care and focus, and we can't wait to fill up a bus for trauma," says James Tabor, regional hospital coordinator for the Metro Health Department. "But if we do need to move a lot of people who need to go to the hospital and their care is not that urgent, we'll put them on this bus and send them to whatever the closest hospital is."

Outside of emergencies, Tabor says the ambubus will be used at special events to provide onsite medical care. As part of the federal grant, the custom vehicle also may deploy to surrounding states when called upon.

According to paperwork filed with the Metro Council, the Nashville Fire Department will maintain and operate the vehicle. It's expected to be operational by mid-2019.

Major cities around the country have been adding these oversized ambulances to their fleets. Clarksville, Dickson and Murfreesboro have received smaller grants through the same program to retrofit buses.