The Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon brings thousands to the
oceanfront during Labor Day weekend each year, requiring
first responders to stand by to treat injuries and runners
in distress. EMS volunteers man medical tents along the
course, and for the past few years, Sentara Virginia Beach
General has set up a “mobile emergency room” at the
finish line to treat patients onsite, rather than transporting
all cases to the hospital.
With the threat of tropical storm force winds during this year’s race, Sentara was not able to set up its 80’ x 80’ tent at the finish line and instead brought the mobile ER to Station 14’s bays. With 39 beds, including four critical care beds, they were set up to treat everything from trauma and cardiac arrest incidents to simple breaks and sprains.
Additionally, EMS volunteers at the medical tents were able to transport runners from the course less than a mile away to Station 14, rather than the ER.
“It was a win-win,” says VBVRS life member Rick Flack. “We didn’t inundate the ER, because many runners were able to be treated at Station 14, and it also enabled EMS volunteers to quickly get back to the course to help more people.”
Sentara plans to use Station 14 for future Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathons and possibly other events.
“The ambulance bays worked great as a mobile hospital,” says Christopher Roberts, Emergency Services Manager for Sentara Virginia Beach General. “We had all the resources we needed – power, water, shelter, restrooms – it was a valuable lesson learned.”