EMS AmbuBus played a key role helping injured passengers

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EMS rolled out a new life saving tool after dozens of passengers were injured on a flight that hit severe turbulence.

And it likely helped other injured patients outside of the airport.

EMS used what’s known as the AmbuBus for the first time Thursday to help transport some of the injured passengers. And it freed up other units to respond to other emergencies on Oahu.

More than 40 people were injured when an Air Canada flight was forced to turn around and land in Honolulu. Several ambulances took some to nearby hospitals. EMS says it’s AmbuBus also played a key role that day and transported seven patients.

“We kept that asset coming so we didn’t have to use as many ground ambulances that were normally in the system for normal everyday 911 calls,” said EMS Assistant Chief Christopher Sloman.

The AmbuBus is a city bus with the seats taken out and reconfigured to hold stretchers and medical equipment. It’s geared for transporting those with less critical injuries and holds up to 20 patients. EMS says using it for incidents with mass casualties frees up other ambulance units to respond to other calls.

“And so being able to supplement our system with something like a bus in an event like that means we don’t have to take as many resources off the road away from normal, from lack of better term, day to day calls,” said Sloman.

The city donated the vehicle to EMS four years ago and crews have used it for training. But this is the first time it’s ever been driven in a real emergency.

During the Honolulu Marathon, the AmbuBus is brought over on standby. Sloman calls it a specialized resource that can come in really handy when disaster strikes.

“This is really reserved for when we have dozens or maybe even have hundreds of patients potentially and hopefully we’re never in that circumstance again. But if we are at least we have it,” he said.

Sloman says EMS will get together soon and evaluate how well the AmbuBus was used and how they can make it better.

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