On September 21, 2009, staff at the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas set up two DRASH 5XB Shelters outside of the hospital’s emergency room to serve as triage and treatment centers during this year’s flu season.

The shelters, which together offer more than 700 square feet of usable space for triage and treatment, were first purchased by the Seton Family of Hospitals – a healthcare network in Central Texas – last year.

Since the H1N1 Swine Flu virus first appeared in the United States this past April, the Dell Children’s Medical Center has experienced a huge influx of patients seeking medical treatment. Now, with flu season in full swing, the hospital receives on average more than 200 visitors to their emergency room for flu symptoms alone each day.

Medical personnel, hoping to relieve the overcrowded emergency room, will use the DRASH Shelters to examine, and, if needed, treat patients showing less severe symptoms.

DRASH Business Development Representative Allen Payne and Field Technician Mike Varnadoe were on hand to help hospital staff set up the shelters. Payne says that staff were pleased with the systems’ easy-to-use design and quick set up time, especially when having the space readily available was critical to treating patients.

“They liked that the shelters can be set up very quickly, and that a bladder and blower system can be used to set them up if there’s limited staff available. They also liked that the shelters can stay up as long as needed, even for the rest of flu season,” says Payne.

With this year’s flu season expected to be unusually widespread due to the H1N1 pandemic, hospital officials have already purchased three additional 519 square foot MX5 Shelters to expand their operations. They say it is unclear when the shelters will be taken down.

Dr Pat Crocker, Chief of Emergency Medicine at the hospital, explained on CBS’s The Early Show, “We’re concerned about what the volume will be. We can scale this up, but I think we’re at the front of this.”

DHS Systems offers a full line of pandemic surge solutions through its Reeves EMS brand.