Paramedic Bicycle Patrol
Since 2002, the Fairfield Fire Department’s paramedic bicycle program has allowed paramedics a more mobile presence at special events and throughout the community.
Prior to the implementation of the bicycles, Fire Department personnel would work special events within the city by staffing an ambulance. The problem was that this ambulance could not easily maneuver through large crowds and congested streets. This bicycle patrol offers the maneuverability needed to get through crowds and over terrain that vehicles cannot.
The program also promotes bike safety in the community through school-based education programs, bike rodeos and helmet giveaways. See our Bicycle Safety page to learn more about the helmet giveaway program.
The members of this team must complete and pass a national EMS cyclist course through IPMBA (International Police Mountain Bike Association). This course is 32 hours in length and requires the student to pass a written test as well as several on-bike skills in order to be certified.
The team members are a dedicated group that has to take a refresher course each year. This course, taught by an IPMBA instructor, involves some classroom learning as well as on-bike skills. This refresher keeps the team members sharp in their skills and ready to assist the public.
How the Program Works
When the paramedic bicycle unit is working an event, paramedics will respond to calls that happen on the event site. Calls will be received in varying methods, depending upon the event type.
Once at the scene, paramedics will notify the primary dispatch so they can document the unit’s location and incident. Once treatment has been started, the unit will assess the patient and call for an ambulance if needed.
The Fairfield Fire Department bicycle program follows county protocols that are set up for all pre-hospital providers. The bicycle program is intended to arrive on the scene rapidly, assess and stabilize the patient prior to the arrival of the ambulance. Treatments that the paramedics can render include but aren’t limited to diabetic emergency issues, cardiac arrests, heat and cold emergencies, bee stings, and simple cuts or scrapes.
Upon arrival of the ambulance, the bicycle paramedics would assist the ambulance personnel in patient care and the packaging of the patient. The bicycle paramedics would then restock their supplies from the ambulance stock; this includes all drugs and IV supplies.
The paramedic bicycle patrol program always operates in teams of 2. This helps to distribute the weight of all of the equipment as well as ensures that they have all the equipment they need. The weight of this equipment on 1 bike alone can exceed 40 pounds. They carry equipment and drugs to manage essentially all life-threatening illnesses and injuries, including an AED (automated external defibrillator), which can detect a deadly heart rhythm and shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. The AED has been proven to save lives. In fact, the American Heart Association states that survival rates are only 5% for those individuals in cardiac arrest who do not receive early defibrillation.