Paramedic Bike Unit Debuting at Ride The Drive

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 4:41am

The Madison Fire Department will debut its EMS Bike Unit at Madison's Ride The Drive event on June 2nd. Paramedics riding with the unit will be in the area of Brittingham Park to show off the new bikes and answer questions about the new, improved program.

In the past, paramedics have used their personal bicycles to provide first response and patient care at special events including the Madison Marathon. The department has taken this service to the next level with improved equipment and training.

The EMS Bike Unit utilizes six Trek bicycles that are specially designed and equipped to provide quick access for first responders. Depending on the event, the bikes will be used by up to three teams who will work special events around the city. Each team of two paramedics will have one bike equipped with oxygen and trauma supplies and another with an automated external defibrillator.

The paramedics assigned to the team will receive additional training in riding and operating the bikes. The handling, maneuvering, balance, and braking of the bicycles differ from most bikes due to their design and the equipment carried. Because the bikes will often be operated off of paved surfaces and in crowded areas, safely maneuvering the bikes will be an important part of the training.

The EMS Bike Unit will supplement other Madison Fire crews who work special events on foot or in an ambulance. Bikes allow the paramedics to carry more equipment and respond faster than those operating on foot. Paramedics on bikes can also respond more quickly into parks and crowded areas where an ambulance may not be able to go.

The EMS Bike Unit will allow paramedics and their equipment to quickly reach a patient to begin emergency medical care. An ambulance will still respond to transport the person to the hospital if needed.

Besides providing better patient care at events, the bicycles allow paramedics to easily interact with the public, share health and safety information, answer questions, and promote bike safety and helmet use.

  • Eric Dahl, 608-261-9845