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Vanderbilt LifeFlight offers safety tips for CMA Fest

Jun. 5, 2019, 10:45 AM


As Nashville welcomes visitors from around the world to the CMA Fest this week, Vanderbilt LifeFlight officials are urging fans to take necessary precautions to avoid illness and injury.

Heat-related illness is the No. 1 concern of the LifeFlight Event Medicine team, which has provided the CMA Fest emergency medical coverage since 2009 and is the event’s official Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and medical provider.

“Victims of heat exhaustion should know when to call it quits for the day,” said Jared McKinney, MD, associate professor of Emergency Medicine and medical director for the Event Medicine division of LifeFlight. “If you are feeling light-headed or dizzy or experience headache, nausea, vomiting or other concerning symptoms, please ask for assistance to get to the first-aid tent or ask for evaluation from one of our medics.”

(photo by Warner Riker)

Alcohol can intensify the consequences of exposure to the heat and worsen dehydration, which can lead to impaired judgment and lack of recognition of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion. Further, it can interfere with the body’s ability to sweat, which is a natural cooling mechanism.

The first step toward treating heat-related illness is to cool the body and infuse appropriate fluids for re-hydration, which means water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks should be consumed instead of alcohol.

“We want fans to enjoy Nashville and have a great time, but be careful when it comes to alcohol consumption and do it in moderation,” McKinney said.

As a preventive measure, people should drink water even if they don’t feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you are often already dehydrated.

Staying hydrated at CMA Fest is easy with the free water stations and water fountains throughout the footprint including one location in Walk of Fame Park and three locations on Broadway (Riverfront Park and at in between First, Second, Third and Fourth avenues).

Official CMA Fest water vendors will sell water bottles for $2. Proceeds go to the CMA Foundation benefiting music education.

Fans attending are reminded that aerosol containers of any kind (including aerosol sunscreen) as well as umbrellas are prohibited at CMA Fest locations. Lotion sunscreen and ponchos are recommended. To view what items can and can’t be brought to CMA Fest, watch the Allowed & Prohibited Items video.

Rain and potentially severe weather are forecast throughout CMA Fest this year. Shows will continue with rain, however lightning can result in schedule delays and changes. CMA Fest encourages fans to use the Official CMA Fest App and turn on app notifications to receive the most current information.

The Event Medicine team also treats numerous patients at the festival each year for foot blisters due to improper footwear. Of additional concern is sunburn, which can not only curb short-term fun but has long-term ramifications, including skin aging and melanoma.

More than 100 Vanderbilt EMTs, paramedics and registered nurses will work the four-day festival, putting in an anticipated 1,700 total hours. Three LifeFlight ambulances will be onsite for needed patient transports.

“It’s impressive to see such a diverse group of individuals come together in the streets of Nashville, to work as a unified team in the delivery of the exceptional care that has become synonymous with the Vanderbilt name,” said Michael Wallace, director of Ground, Event Medicine and Emergency Communications for Vanderbilt LifeFlight.


For more information, contact Jerry Jones 615-500-4513 or email


Vanderbilt LifeFlight Event Medicine at the CMA Fest – by the numbers:


  • The Vanderbilt LifeFlight Event Medicine team has been the official medical provider for this event since 2009.
  • More than 100 Vanderbilt AEMTs, paramedics and registered nurses will work the four-day festival, putting in an anticipated 1,700 total hours.
  • LifeFlight ambulances will be onsite for needed patient transports.
  • LifeFlight’s mobile emergency command and communications bus will be on the scene as the official communications center.
  • 1, LifeFlight’s off-road response vehicle, will be in operation, and medics will circulate the event on Segways and bicycles.
  • Six first-aid tents will be set up at all locations of CMA Fest, with cooling stations available at select locations.
  • Metro Nashville Fire/EMS Department will be providing its new “Ambu Bus,” which will be used at the main first-aid station (located near the downtown train depot) as a cooling station where patrons can sit in an air-conditioned environment and cool down.
  • Metro Nashville Fire/EMS Department will provide roaming medical teams on ATVs and additional ambulances.


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