BRADENTON, Fla. (FOX 13) - With a blaring siren and lights flashing, when RAPTOR hits the streets, it means go time.
"It's like a Swiss army knife of vehicles, if you will," said Manatee Co. EMS District Chief Jason Evans.
RAPTOR stands for Rapid Activation Patient Treatment Or Rehab. And for Manatee County Emergency Services, the vehicle fills an important role.
"It allows us to respond in what we call MCIs. It’s a mass casualty incident," said Chief Evans.
From an active shooter to crashes involving multiple cars or natural disasters like hurricanes,
RAPTOR will save lives.
"It gives us the opportunity to treat large numbers of patients at one time," explained Chief Evans.
That’s 14 patients to be exact. They can treat seven critical patients and seven with minor injuries.
"We can do sitting patients to take their vitals and treat them appropriately," said charge paramedic Zach Molnar.
There's room for a stretcher and a back area for immediate treatment.
"We can lay them flat and hook up fluids. We can give them medicine. We have syringes and all of our devices here," Molnar pointed out.
If you think RAPTOR looks familiar, that's because it's a former Manatee County bus. It's been transformed for EMS to use and there's a second one in the works.
"We utilized the resources we already had available in the county and we transformed it into something we could use for critical care patients and lower acuity care patients," said Molnar.
The hope is that RAPTOR won't be needed very often, but it's here, ready and waiting for the moment reality hits.
"In an area where we have such a heavy population of visitors year-round, this is a very useful tool," Molnar added.