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Baltimore Bicycle Paramedics

by Warren T

Baltimore Bicycle Paramedics

Bicycle paramedics. What a cool idea.

In 1999, the city of Baltimore had difficulties getting ambulances to people in need at the celebrations at the Inner Harbor, where tens of thousands of people attended the event. In response, the Baltimore Fire Department established a paramedic bicycle team to help out during 11 downtown events. This team provides emergency, first response when event traffic and large crowds would delay a traditional response. Shortly after the program was launched, the unit was credited with saving a cardiac arrest patient’s life at a July 4 celebration.

According to a September 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun:

Since the Bike Team’s inception, 30 members of the department have received International Police Mountain Bike Association certification training. They are equipped with 12 lead cardiac monitors, oxygen, advanced cardiac medications and Endotracheal intubation equipment for advanced airway maintenance. Bike Team members have the capability to control bleeding, splint fractures, establish an IV, perform patient assessments as well as sustain life in a pre-hospital setting until the arrival of a medic unit.

In the same article, EMS Lt. Mark Fletcher said

“The response times are a fraction of what they used to be at these events – sometimes less than a minute,”

Today, the Baltimore Fire Department announced they are receiving $7,125 grant to help support the agency’s paramedic bicycle team. Money will be used for portable radios. The grant is being presented by Riggs, Counselman, Michaels & Downes, an insurance company, and the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co.

Does your city have anything similar to this?

 
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12 Responses to “Baltimore Bicycle Paramedics”

  1. Matt S. says:

    I’ve seen at least one in Jacksonville, FL. It was at a multi-stage music festival. There were 3 bike cops and one bike paramedic roaming the grounds.

    Here’s the site.

  2. Big Monkey says:

    This is a great idea Chicago has been doing it as well for some time know for the big events they have each summer…

  3. Bill says:

    When I was a volunteer at a Northern Idaho Fire department I was part of the newly-formed bicycle reponse team. We were made up of EMT-Bs and Is. Were worked the Ironman Triathlon and other community events. As stated in the article, the response times are terrific and it’s a great opportunity to interact with the community.

  4. Quinn says:

    Back when I was an EMT in rural Virginia, late 90s, we had police and EMS bike units at all the big events. To this day I use the LA Rescue U.S.A.R. Mate EMS bag- http://www.larescue.com/USARWaterRescue.html

    as my daily bike (shoulder) bag.

  5. joel says:

    Ah, for once we get press for something good. I have been sitting in on the Fire/PD/Health Dept group that is funding part of the bike project and when I first heard it brought up (there was a request for funding for the trailers for the bikes) I couldn’t let myself hope that they were actually talking bicycles, and here we are.

  6. Fritz says:

    I’ve seen them in several cities in Colorado, especially at large events.

  7. bikesgonewild says:

    …i literally owe my life to the para-meds, so anything that helps them out & makes them feel better about their response time is awesome by my standards…

  8. Alyssa says:

    Frederick, MD has stepped up its police bicycle patrol presence over the past few years, which is far preferable, in my view, to a neighboring town’s recent proposal to put some of their patrol units on Segways.

    The Frederick bike cops could use a lesson or two about good riding etiquette, considering that they’re almost always riding up the sidewalks in Frederick’s historic district. Not surprisingly, the city lets them off the hook for this, presumably so they can focus on their primary objective of targeting other people (kids) who ride bikes and skateboards on the sidewalks.

    At least they don’t run red lights with sirens blaring to grab coffee and donuts.

  9. Johnny says:

    I’m with Joel — it’s nice to head positive news about Charm City. I wish the local media in Baltimore would report on the bike-efforts of the city lately: the new bike lanes, traffic signs for bikes with directions, raise bike route markers to reinforce the sentiment that we have the right in MD to be on the road. It’s getting easier to bike here every day. It’s not Portland, but it’s a start;)

  10. seo company says:

    the response times are terrific and it’s a great opportunity to interact with the community.

  11. Triathlon and other community events. As stated in the article, the response times are terrific and it’s a great opportunity to interact with the community.

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