Monday, January 30, 2017

EMS bicycle units on the rise, even in rural areas

Paramedic Ryan Winchell is part of a bike unit
in rural Cody, Wyo. (Associated Press photo)
Emergency medical bicycle units are beginning to crop up in the U.S., Jenni Bergal reports for Stateline. The units, which can "deliver quick emergency care by darting in and out of heavy traffic, maneuvering through large crowds or cutting across park land more nimbly than a crew in an ambulance," are largely in metropolitan areas, but have been increasingly forming in rural places, such as Cody, Wyo., 50 miles from Yellowstone National Park.

Ryan Winchell, a paramedic at West Park Hospital’s EMS department in Cody, said it costs less than $3,000 to set up the department with three bikes, uniforms and saddlebags, compared to as much as $280,000 for buying and equipping an ambulance, Bergal writes. The 16-member bike unit "frequently is called into action at parades and Fourth of July festivities as well as 5K and 10K trail runs."

Winchell "said he and his colleagues have a different mindset cycling to the scene than they do when they’re riding in an ambulance," Bergal writes. He told her, “You don’t have your same comfort zone of having a few minutes to think about where you’re going and what you’re going to do. It’s definitely a different kind of game.”

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