Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Floods, or Wildfires? Which Will You Face?

2019 Could be a challenging year for emergency managers.

If current conditions continue, 2019 may be one of the worst years for natural disasters in America.  

From January through May, we have already seen 611 tornadoes that have caused at least 38 fatalities and left hundreds homeless. This figure includes a record 13 straight days with at least 8 tornadoes reported. 

For 2019, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4, or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). 

Vast areas of the United States are at risk of flooding this spring, even as Nebraska and other Midwestern states are already reeling from record-breaking late-winter floods. Some 13 million people could be exposed to major flooding, making this a “potentially unprecedented” flood season, said Edward Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center. 

While much of the country should have fewer wildfires in 2019, the West Coast of the U.S. could see many significant wildfires according to the National Interagency Fire Center. 

Future events like those mentioned above may require the evacuation of patients in hospitals and nursing homes as well as home-bound, at-risk citizens.  

If your community suddenly must deal with a large-scale disaster, will you have enough multiple-patient transport capacity to manage both large numbers of casualties and patient evacuations? 

What emergency planners need is a scalable, affordable, and flexible approach to multi-patient transport. 

One option that is being used by many communities is to convert existing transportation assets on a permanent, or as needed basis to handle mass casualty situations. 

By leveraging surplus or end of service school or metro buses, using a conversion kit such as the AmbuBus from First Line Technology, a community can have a vehicle that can transport up to 18 non-critical patients for well under $50,000. 

The organization can often borrow the vehicles for temporary use or buy them for a nominal amount from the school or transportation district. They then purchase one or more AmbuBus conversion kits which cost between $25,000 to $50,000. Once assembled, which takes two people about two hours, the converted AmbuBus can carry up to 12 non-critical patients, two or more EMTs, and medical supplies. 

By having at least one AmbuBus kit permanently installed the community has a multi-patient transport vehicle (MPTV) that can handle mass casualty incidents that have no prior warning. 

They can then purchase additional kits that are unassembled and stored in wooden pallets. These can be stacked up in any available warehouse and used to temporarily convert additional buses for events such as hurricanes. 

Since the installation of the kits does not require any holes to be drilled, the structural integrity of the vehicle is preserved, and it can be returned to regular service after the event.                                                           

For more information, download the free white paper, “A Scalable Approach to Mass Casualty Transport” at