HGH EMS Rescue to Oversee Medical Services at Burning Man 2014

Humboldt General Hospital's EMS Rescue Department will join forces with Black Rock City LLC to provide medical services on the Black Rock Desert this Labor Day weekend.

Burning Man 2014 will take place from Monday, August 25 through Monday, September 1, 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 tens of thousands of people, there is an obvious need for a wide range of medical services," said Humboldt General Hospital Emergency Medical Services Rescue Chief Pat Songer. "Our competent, compassionate skill set is 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. In 2011, 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 does HGH EMS Rescue provide advanced life-support ambulance service within Black Rock City, but HGH EMS Rescue staffs a medical clinic that is open 24/7 during the entirety of the event; the group also handles all ground transports to Reno hospitals.

The joint HGH and ESD EMS teams are also supported by the Black Rock City ESD Fire Branch, which operates 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. Eight 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 70,000 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."

Humboldt General Hospital CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish said all 250-plus 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 continued relationship with Black Rock City LLC."

Humboldt General Hospital Emergency Medical Services Rescue is one of only six CAAS-certified ambulance services in Nevada, and the only rural agency to achieve CAAS distinction.

The agency 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 and tactical training and support.

The group operates one of the nation's leading ground transportation services and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal for their innovative use of portable ultrasound in the field.

The agency has also been named a national "EMS 10 Innovator" twice by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, in 2011 and again in 2013.