Every day on the Playa, you can feel the pulse of Black Rock City as citizens connect with one another: collaborating on their projects, meeting their new neighbors, riding their bicycles, interacting with the art, and delighting in sunset and daybreak over the mountains surrounding our city. The Emergency Services Department makes a 24/7 commitment to safety, keeping the heart of the city beating. Hundreds of burners volunteer their time to make sure that should someone get hurt, they will get the necessary care they need, even on Burn Night.
Burning Man Medical is comprised of volunteers from around the country and with a variety of medical backgrounds—nurses and doctors, EMTs and paramedics, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners, allopathic providers. While licensure laws limit the scope of care these medical professionals can provide, all of the ESD volunteers do their best to ensure the well being of the citizens of Black Rock City. Our mobile resources can respond to calls for help, bring people to our stations for care, or get them to the Rampart clinic, a small hospital on playa providing more advanced medical care as well as emergent air and ground transportation to Reno if necessary.
Participating as a member of our Black Rock City Emergency Services team will give you the opportunity to gift your skills, compassion, and caring to our amazing participants—and when your shift is over, you find yourself in the most amazing city on earth.
Working in the Stations
Our medical stations are located on C near the 3:00 and 9:00 plazas, and at 5:15 on the Esplanade. These are staffed with a mix of clinical (RNs, MDs, PAs, NPs, etc.) and field (EMT and Paramedic) volunteers. The stations are equipped with cots, basic medical supplies, quiet air-conditioned spaces, and plenty of medical providers to care for the urgent medical needs of the citizens of Black Rock City.
Working in the Field
Quick Response Vehicles
Our medical branch has four Quick Response Vehicles, or QRVs, to respond to calls in the city. Our dispatch center contacts the QRV crews via radio and pager, relaying the approximate location of a possible medical emergency. Once the QRV arrives on scene and the patient has been evaluated, first responder care is provided and the QRV team decides whether the patient can be released at the scene, or needs to be transported to an ESD station or to Rampart. If the patient is deemed stable, these QRVs are transport capable.
We also have two additional vehicles (not quite QRVs since they don’t “respond” to emergency calls) we staff with medically trained volunteers to provide minor care transport to Rampart.
Rapid Intervention Teams (RITs)
Rapid Intervention Teams (RITs) are teams of one clinical and one field provider strategically positioned around the major event burns. They carry a radio and jump bag and are dispatched to assist participants in the dynamic environments of the Man, Temple, and other burns.
These volunteers are stationed at Sanctuary, a quiet space provided to participants who are medically stable but are having a difficult time coping with their time on playa. The Sanctuary backup is available to assist with the medical evaluation of these participants and to facilitate transfer to Rampart should they determine a need.
Ready to volunteer? Fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire.