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October 30, 2020Taking Care

How to Use Canopies during a Medical Emergency

When you think of a pop-up canopy event tent, you likely imagine fun outdoor events like picnics, carnivals, corporate events, weddings, and more. After all, event tents are the quintessential venue for outdoor events. Tent canopy uses are limitless! The versatility of the canopy tent, however, lends itself to far more uses than simple outdoor gatherings. Many communities, hospitals, and disaster relief organizations utilize emergency pop-up tents to treat patients and disaster victims.

  • When waiting rooms are overwhelmed or when it's not safe to go inside, an emergency shelter tent set up in your facility's parking lot can be a major help.
  • Drive-up testing is made easier when you have a dependable medical tent, a safe distance away from emergency rooms.
  • Tenting medical provides safe and well ventilated break rooms for doctors and other medical staff working hard and long hours.

When it comes to natural disasters and health crises, are you and your organization prepared? Having a medical canopy tent on-hand can help!

What Is a Medical Tent?

Simply put, a medical pop-up tent or medical emergency tent is generally a smaller-sized tent that can be set up in a variety of locations and weather conditions to assist hospitals and other medical organizations respond to a crisis and administer patient care outside of indoor confines.

While a few months ago many individuals and even many organizations likely didn’t fully comprehend the importance of emergency preparedness when it comes to administering patient care outside of hospitals, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how vital it is to have backup options like pop up medical tents on stand-by for these instances.

Pop-Up Medical Tents Advantages

Pop-Up Medical Tents Advantages

American Tent portable medical tents for sale are the solution for these emergency situations. Our 20' wide and 30' wide series of frame tents can be set up quickly and easily, with minimal equipment and personnel. The above image is a rendering we did today for a drive through testing site. Other reasons our tents are the smart choice include:

  • Depending on the size, these emergency medical tents can provide shelter and space for dozens of people - or supplies.
  • No need to worry about pounding stakes into your parking lot or what happens if the wind picks up: Our Giffy Ballasting System makes sure your tent stays safe and secure.
  • Our tents are high quality, reliable, and made to be easily set up and taken down - plus, they are compact so they are easily shipped and stored.

What makes medical emergency tents a great tool to have on hand for hospitals and medical organizations? There are many advantages of these temporary outdoor shelters, including:

Easily Transportable

As opposed to its frame tent counterpart, the pop-up canopy tent has a great advantage in that it is lightweight, easy to set up and tear down, and extremely easy to transport between locations. The entire point of a medical tent is the ease of use, so you don’t want to be stuck with a tent that is too heavy and complicated to set up. Medical emergency tent shelters are unique in that they can turn any outdoor space into a medical area in minutes, which is essential for emergency response and/or disaster relief..

Relatively Inexpensive

While a high-quality pop-up medical tent for sale isn’t going to be the cheapest purchase, it is a far more viable option than a hospital trying to rent or buy a venue, or even having to build outbuildings for medical care. In a medical emergency and/or natural disaster, resources are tight and a canopy medical tent is a far more cost-effective option than a more permanent brick-and-mortar solution.

Useable in Harsh Weather Conditions

Providing shelter is necessary whether responding to a medical emergency or natural disaster, both for victims and medical staff. No one can provide patient care in blistering heat or downpour rain, and pop-up canopy tents can provide a surprising amount of safety and coverage in poor weather. While not as substantial as a brick and mortar building, disaster relief tents can be quite sturdy and appropriate for harsh conditions.

Canopy tent buying tip: When it comes to providing shelter from rain and other conditions, ensure you’re purchasing a canopy tent for sale with a vetted manufacturer that uses high-quality tent materials. It’s essential to purchase a medical tent that will truly provide shelter, and only the best materials will ensure protection and can hold up for multiple uses against poor weather.

At American Tent, for example, our canopy tent is made with Anti-Oxide aluminum alloy, as well as PVC-coated canopy tent canvas to ensure our canopy tent is waterproof and flame retardant. With high-quality materials like these, you can ensure a safe experience for your patients and medical staff, no matter how many times the tent is used and what weather conditions it is put through.

Easy Sanitization

canopy uses

Working quickly and being able to get through various patients in a short amount of time is vital to responding to medical emergencies and natural disasters, but sanitization puts a big damper on this process. Especially in the cases of COVID-19, everything must be extremely sanitary and cleaned regularly, usually multiple times a day. This can be extremely difficult and taxing in a physical location, but not as hard with a canopy tent. Because of the waterproof canvas that can easily be hosed-down, down and waterproof aluminum easy to sanitize, canopy tents provide sanitary venues that are very easy to keep clean for every patient and healthcare worker. Disinfection facilities are also imperative to care for patients during a natural disaster or a pandemic. Consider having an extra tent dedicated to storing supplies.


Last but not least, pop-up canopy tents are simple to customize. You want to stand out in a crown and ensure your patients can accurately find the right location of your tent, which is why customization can be so vital. By adding your hospital insignia or logo to your emergency canopy tent canvas, hospital staff, patients, and volunteers can easily identify your location and services. At American Tent, we work one-on-one with our medical clients to personalize their tents add custom logos and designs to their tent canvas to assist with this customization process, and ensure every product is uniquely made for our clients, and your patients.

Environmentally Friendly

Working in emergency conditions often means getting creative with limited resources. One benefit of providing medical care in outdoor tents is that your organization can spend money on patient care instead of expensive electricity. Translucent tents allow natural light in and can be fitted with artificial lighting because emergencies are not always between 8 am - 5 pm. With American Tent, your electric bill prognosis is excellent!

Responsible Repurposing

Our tents are stitched with care and built with good bones. They are designed to be used for many years. It is a great idea to invest in a quality tent if you are looking for a reliable shelter for the annual marathon’s first aid station, live in an area prone to natural disasters, or for patient overflow in crisis conditions.

Canopy Tent Uses in Emergency Situations

medical canopy tents

Like many other event tents, medical canopy tents can be used in a variety of ways for hospitals to provide unique patient care. While there is no extensive list or cap on how many ways hospitals and medical organizations can utilize medical emergency tents, here are the most popular ways canopy tents have been used in the past to respond to medical emergencies and natural disasters:

Medical Testing

As we have seen in 2020 with COVID-19, providing medical testing locations has never been more prevalent or more important. Pop-up canopy tents work well for medical testing for many reasons. Multiple pop-up canopy tents can be set up in a general area to provide a large testing area that flows well and gets patients through the testing as quickly and safely as possible. As COVID-19 remains unpredictable, having covid tents on standby keeps healthcare ahead of the game.

Rapid Response Shelters or Mobile Quarantine Tents

A canopy tent can be a literal lifesaver! Emergency response tents give medical providers a covered space to care for patients. These tents are easy to set up ensuring that, in an emergency, patient care can be a priority! Field hospitals also utilize canopy tents as mobile quarantine tents. When infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, fill hospitals to maximum capacity, it is essential to have a place to care for patients. It may not be ideal, but we at American Tent want to work together with you to overcome these types of emergencies!

Admin/Check-in Area

Canopy tents also make wonderful check-in areas as the first step in medical testing and other medical processes. Even in cases when physical locations are available to be used in emergencies, they can quickly become overcrowded and difficult to keep organized and succinct. Canopy tents can mean the difference between chaos and a calm, organized system, all by using a tent as a first-stop check-in point. This not only keeps healthcare staff calm and able to assist patients in a calm matter but makes the entire process faster and safer.

Festival/Large Event Medical Tent

Not all medical tents have to be used for medical emergencies. In fact, when was the last large event you went to? Perhaps it was a music festival or county fair; no matter what kind of event, there was most likely a medical tent on the premises. When there is a large gathering of people, someone is bound to get hurt or need medical attention, and pop-up canopy tents have long been the answer to providing sound medical care at large outdoor events that don’t have any other shelter options.

Temporary Shelter

shelter tents

Natural disasters have the potential to leave hundreds to thousands of individuals potentially or permanently without their homes, which is the last problem anyone wants to have while there is still a natural disaster to worry about. Canopy tents can provide immediate temporary shelter to families and individuals displaced by a natural disaster, if only for a night or two.

Tip: If planning to use a pop-up canopy tent as a temporary shelter, it is important to remember sidewalls for your tent! Sidewalls are canvas panels made to easily be added to your main canopy and provide additional shelter and privacy to your canopy tent. This will help keep out more harsh weather conditions, and will also provide much-needed shelter to individuals and families in need.

Triage Shelter

In large medical emergencies and natural disasters, there isn’t time to wait for first responders to get individuals to hospitals. In cases when healthcare staff needs to administer medical care immediately, medical emergency tents help make this a possibility. Injuries can be treated in a basic manner in the emergency tent before the patient is brought to a hospital, which can be the difference between life and death in many situations. Triage tents can be a variety of sizes, let American Tent diagnose your tent needs!

No Matter the Weather

Not all heroes wear capes and our first responders are deserving of a quiet place to catch their breath between patients. Having a portable medical tent dedicated to medical professionals and their equipment is essential. A mobile medical tent keeps people and equipment warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Adding fans or heaters can help on especially hot or cold days. Consider adding seating, hydrating beverages, and filling protein bars to show appreciation for the hard work of all involved.

Drive-Up Testing Solutions

As winter approaches, we know more and more people will be once again affected by COVID-19. To keep hospital staff and other community members safe, consider purchasing patient screening tents to keep contagious germs out of the main hospital and clinic.

Triage Tent Considerations

Assess the scene and consider what other resources you will need to be able to adequately serve your community with a triage tent. Whether you are preparing the first aid station for a local triathlon, triaging hurricane victims, or preparing for another tough COVID-19 season, we will discuss a few imperative considerations for your triage tent below.

Location, Location, Location

Think ahead and find the perfect space for your triage tent! Consider how many people you will need to serve inside the tent and if you need an additional tent for personnel and supplies. Another consideration is the type of tent you are looking to purchase. Pole tents require a grassy area to be staked down while a frame tent can be utilized on any surface-even a parking lot! Check with the hospital, park, or other space where you are planning to work, to be sure you are abiding by all guidelines and regulations.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Whether you are planning for a first-aid tent at a local event or managing patients who are victims of crisis conditions, it is important to consider staffing needs. Luckily, we have your back at American Tent and have designed tents that are easy to set up and take down. Physicians, nurses, and first responders can help provide medical care while volunteers can help keep supplies stocked. Don’t forget to thank your staff with meals and a comfortable place to rest!

Be Prepared

Consult with local physicians and other providers to stock emergency supply tents with all of the right tools. Consider what types of emergencies will be most common (ie. dehydration at a marathon or respiratory distress with COVID-19) and which are most life threatening. Make sure to have beds ready, chairs for patients to wait, and refrigeration if temperature controlled medications are necessary. Expensive equipment such as ventilators, heart monitors, and computers may require additional tent walls or flooring to keep them safe from outside conditions. Don’t skip a beat-call American Tent for your emergency tent needs!

How to Choose a Medical Tent

To save some of your valuable time, I’m going to go through some key pieces of information you may wish to have on hand before giving us a call to buy medical tents. Of course, we encourage you to call us regardless, but having some of these facts from the tent buying guide will help make the process go faster and will help us get you the tents you need that much sooner. Thanks for reading and stay safe!

1. What Kind of Surface Will This Medical Tent Be Going On?

Surfaces make a lot of difference when it comes to finding the right tent for you. Find out what your space is made of if you can. Concrete, grass, gravel, asphalt, or other? Let us know and we can be sure to get you the right equipment to make sure your tent is set up safely and securely.

2. How Many People Do You Plan to Have Underneath the Medical Tent?

If you have an estimate for the number of people who will be under the tent - along with how you plan to have it set up - we can find the best tent for you that much faster. Knowing this will help us determine the square footage you need for the job.

3. How to Decide When to Order Your Tent?


Emergencies don’t usually follow our calendars! Part of preparedness is having the shelter and supplies that you need on hand when the time comes. We always have inventory in stock or if you need something customized, we are able to communicate directly with our plant to create a custom tent for your needs. We are typically able to ship tents to customers within a couple of days. If you need a tent stat, call American Tent 


While no one can be truly ready for a medical emergency or large natural disaster, there are many steps hospitals and medical organizations can take to ensure they are prepared when the time comes. By having mobile medical tents on hand, many lives can be saved in times of need.

Tony Ehrbar's headshot

Tony Ehrbar

Owner & CEO

Tony's entrepreneurial spirit is woven into the fabric of American Tent (an Inc 5000 company), shaped by his experience running a successful event venue & tent rental service. His recognition as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 is a testament to his impact & dedication to his community. As the Co-founder and CEO of Renegade Plastics, Tony is leading initiatives in the tent industry to integrate eco-friendly, recyclable materials. Contributing as a board member for the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) & the Green Bay Area Public Schools Foundation and being featured by Entrepreneur, Oracle, & Modern Weddings, Tony plays a pivotal role in enhancing the growth and success of the textile industry.

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