East Texas Medical Center EMS will debut its new bicycle response team this week at the East Texas State Fair in Tyler.
ETMC EMS bicycle response teams include 12 experienced paramedics and EMTs who meet certain physical fitness standards, possess superior cycling skills, have a positive history with ETMC EMS and have completed training to ensure safe and efficient operations.
"More and more EMS providers are adding bicycle medics for events, such as the fair, for faster response times through traffic and crowds," said Neal Franklin, ETMC EMS general manager. "The cyclist has the ability to move around obstacles, utilize sidewalks and navigate around people to quickly get to the injured or sick patient. The bicycle teams will be utilized at special events, such as concerts, races, parades and festivals, and also can be contracted for private events. Bike teams can begin triage and treatment as an ambulance responds to provide transport."
Each EMS bike team will be comprised of a paramedic and EMT. The team will carry basic life support and advanced life support equipment, as well as other supplies to respond to any emergency. Most EMS cyclists utilize a rear rack bag to store the equipment on the bicycle.
"Bicycle medics will never replace the standard ambulance, but they can greatly enhance the effectiveness of EMS operations and be a useful tool in a complex and ever-changing society," Franklin said.
Bike medic teams operate in more than 200 cities across the nation.
ETMC EMS has more than 400 paramedics and emergency medical technicians, covering over 17,000 square miles in East Texas, responding to 150,000 requests for service and transportation of more than 100,000 patients each year.