SARASOTA, FL (WFLA)- Sarasota county paramedics have sleek new vehicles to respond more quickly to emergencies and they’re propelled by pedal power. This holiday weekend marks the first time they’re using their new EMS bikes. They are normal mountain bikes except with large medical bags tied to the back. Each bike carries around 35 pounds of medical equipment. It’s filled with supplies and machines to handle nearly any emergency- from small injuries to heart attacks.
Paramedic Sean Murphy said, “We’re pretty much a rolling emergency room.” The Sarasota county fire department just purchased 12 of these EMS bikes. They’ll be using them for the first time during this weekend’s fireworks shows and the Power Boat Grand Prix. These bikes can get to places quicker than any ambulance could.
Lt. Tim Carden with the Sarasota County Fire Department said, “An EMS bicycle can weave through crowds and get to a patient much quicker than even a small SUV or ATV.” And that’s the key here. Carden added, “We’re going to get there quicker, we’re going to start lifesaving ability quicker, and just time is of the essence.”
During crowded events like this weekend’s power boat races, it’s hard to weave emergency vehicles through the sea of people. SCFD Captain Dana Anderson said, “The longer that these people are waiting for us, if they’re having a critical emergency, it can mean the difference between life or death.” It took some practice to get used to the extra weight. The paramedics had to go through rigorous training.
Carden said, “The weight does affect the handling capabilities a little differently” But after getting the hang of it, these bikes can get them anywhere in no time. Murphy said, “We can be there in a matter of seconds sometimes, whereas if you try to get an ambulance or a fire truck through these crowds on the weekend, its nearly impossible.” It’s a sleek solution to save more lives.
These paramedics were even trained to ride these bikes down a set of stairs, so they can get virtually anywhere. The department used a grant to buy each of these bikes for $1,500, and they’ll be used from now on during large events in the county.