Nashville's First Mass Casualty Ambulance Makes Its Debut For NFL Draft, Marathon Weekend | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville's First Mass Casualty Ambulance Makes Its Debut For NFL Draft, Marathon Weekend

Apr 22, 2019

Nashville's first mass-casualty ambulance is now operational, ahead of what's expected to be the biggest tourist drawn in city history.

The so-called "ambubus" is a school bus taken out of service with the Nashville district just last year. The fire department painted over the yellow with white and orange and gave it an $84,000 overhaul, courtesy of a federal grant. 

"Mass casualty, even though that's a scary word, we've done that," says Nashville fire chief William Swann. "For us, it's just about being prepared. And that's what this is."

Through the same federal program, Clarksville, Dickson and Murfreesboro have also received smaller grants to retrofit buses. Cities around the country have been adding the vehicles to their emergency fleets.

Nashville's bus has been retrofitted with a dozen stretchers and space for medical equipment and several paramedics.

The vehicle will be on standby during the NFL Draft and the Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Marathon, when hundreds of thousands of people will be crowded into downtown's streets.

"Obviously, the sooner the better," Nashville Mayor David Briley said. "Our fire department would have been ready regardless, but this gets them a little bit more ready in the case of something tragic happening."

Other cities have also used similar vehicles as clinics or cooling shelters during big festivals or to evacuate patients from a nursing home or hospital during a natural disaster.