NEW ORLEANS - Every year New Orleans Emergency Medical Service has to deal with all kinds of problems during Carnival celebrations. But in 2013, the Super Bowl could add even more problems to an already very busy time for EMS.
On Tuesday morning, workers at EMS headquarters were readying all of their resources.
The Super Bowl adds the equivalent of a third weekend of Carnival to the EMS schedule, said Dr. Jeff Elder, the director of New Orleans EMS.
"This will really be an all-hands-on-deck approach for us. We'll have all of our employees in working. It will be 100 percent of our work force out on the streets," Elder said.
Ambulances, sprint vehicles, SUVs with a paramedic, special response vehicles, small golf carts with attached stretchers, biking teams and the surge bus (which can handle 18 patients at once) will all be utilized.
"We prepare for the worst, hope for the best. We've been planning for this for over a year," Elder said.
Because the city is so crowded and many areas are hard to access by larger vehicles, the EMS team knows the ins and outs of the roadways in order to make the fastest commute, he said. For example, if paramedics need to access Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday, they will deploy golf carts or bike teams over an ambulance. The smaller units can then transport a patient to a waiting ambulance.
Parade-goers that want to stay up-to-date this Carnival season should download WWLTV's latest free smartphone app. The "Eye on Carnival" app has a real-time parade tracker, parade maps and schedules. The best way to find it is to search the app store for WWLTV. Then look for the "Eye on Carnival" app and make a free download.