Humboldt General Hospital's EMS Rescue Department will join forces with Black Rock City LLC to provide medical services on the Black Rock Desert next Labor Day weekend.
Burning Man 2011 will take place from Monday, August 29 through Monday, September 5 approximately 70 miles northwest of Winnemucca, Nevada.
The event, which organizers say is an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance, attains status as one of Nevada's largest cities-for one week each year.
"With more than 48,000 people, there is an obvious need for a wide range of medical services," said Humboldt General Hospital Emergency Medical Services Rescue Director Pat Songer. "We feel confident that our competent, compassionate skill set will be a great complement and partnership with Black Rock City's Emergency Services Department."
The Black Rock City Emergency Services Department (ESD) also provides medical, fire, mental health and communications services in the temporary city. Earlier this spring, HGH EMS Rescue signed a five-year contract with Burning Man officials to provide a municipal style EMS system much like those in most other cities in the United States.
Not only will HGH EMS Rescue provide advanced life-support ambulance service
within Black Rock City, but Songer said his group will staff a medical clinic that will be open 24/7 during the entirety of the event and handle all ground transports to Reno hospitals.
The joint HGH and ESD EMS teams also will be supported by the Black Rock City ESD Fire Branch, which will operate three 24-hour stations equipped with fire engines that can function in a first-responder EMS role and provide additional support on hazardous material, technical, and rescue incidents.
More than 300 doctors, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and other medical professionals will staff the 2,000-square-foot medical clinic during this year's Burning Man. The mobile unit will include 32 beds and laboratory facilities. Six advanced life-support ambulances will be on call around the clock.
Songer said his team will be ready to handle the challenges of a desertscape where temperatures routinely reach 100 degrees.
"We are preparing for the kinds of incidents that can normally affect a city of 50,000 people," he said, "sudden cardiac incidents, stroke, infection, pregnancy, flu. But we are also preparing for heat-related incidents, injuries, exhaustion and the other kinds of things that lend themselves to this harsher environment."
Songer continued, "We are committed to ensuring the very best care for Black Rock City's participants."
Jim Parrish, CEO/Administrator of Humboldt General Hospital, which operates the ambulance service, said all 250+ members of the HGH team stand ready to assist with HGH EMS Rescue's efforts at this year's Burning Man.
"We are committed to our EMS team and to this event," said Parrish. "We are very confident in their ability to deliver superior care to the residents of Black Rock City, and we are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with Black Rock City LLC."
Humboldt General Hospital Emergency Medical Services Rescue is one of only five CAAS-certified ambulance services in Nevada. The agency, which includes 12 paramedics, and 30 EMTs, has been hailed by EMS Magazine as the standard-bearer for rural emergency medical services in the United States, not only for members' medical response efforts but also for their rescue and hazardous materials response, as well as tactical training and support.
The group operates one of the nation's leading ground transportation services and was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for their innovative use of portable ultrasound in the field.
For more information on Humboldt General Hospital EMS Rescue's partnership with Black Rock City LLC to provide medical services during Burning Man 2011, please contact HGH EMS Rescue Director Pat Songer at (775) 623-5222, ext. 260.