Paramedic bike team cuts down on response time

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - By Sheldon Dutes  bio | email | Twitter

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - During an emergency, a few minutes could mean the difference between life and death. And sometimes traditional ambulance trucks aren't the fastest way to a scene.

"If you've blocked off streets or have a crowd of people then it becomes harder for an ambulance to drive through that area. With the bicycles it's quicker. We're talking a difference of two to three minutes," said Berkeley County paramedic Chris Esdorn.

Berkeley County EMS will debut its newly formed Bicycle Team the first week of May, which will patrol crowded events like festivals and road races.

Teams of two will ride around and be on stand-by in case an emergency comes up. Four 21-speed mountain bikes are part of the fleet and paramedics will be equipped with the necessary items for an emergency.

Each bicycle unit has a zipper-pouch stocked with bandages, a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff, among other devices. In the future, coordinators plan to attach a defibrillator to the bicycles.

"We can actually do a lot with very little. We can treat heart attacks, people who have scrapes, or fractured arms. We'll stabilize them before they're ready to transport," Esdorn said.

In addition to keeping watch at local events, the bicycle team also plans to do community outreach.

The bike team will make its official debut next Saturday at the Hell Hole Swamp Festival.

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