Paramedics joined the thousands of cyclists on the streets of Cambridge yesterday as they launched their emergency response unit in the city.
The Cycle Response Unit (CRU) was launched outside King's College by the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, Richard Barnwell. It will give medical staff the pedal power they need to reach emergencies in a matter of minutes. The service will be operational from October 17. The bright yellow and green, fully kitted-out, two wheeled ambulance will be based in the heart of Cambridge dealing with all the same emergencies as regular ambulances, but able to get to the patients much faster. It will also free up regular ambulances to attend more serious incidents where casualties need to be taken to hospital.
Darren Rutterford, the CRU director for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: "We offer an average response time of two minutes, so being based in the centre with a high influx of incidents this will be a valuable service. "We will be dispatched by ambulance control as an initial resource and we will be backed up by an ambulance. "If the paramedic on the bike can deal with this, it will save the ambulance from coming out and being stood down. We are standing down around 50 per cent of ambulances, so to be able to free them up for more serious incidents will be beneficial for the service."
Three paramedics have undertaken an intensive advanced emergency cycling course, showing them how to handle the bikes, which weigh 45kg. They are Specialized and Cube mountain bikes with panniers on each side, fitted with oxygen, a defibrillator and various other devices carried in conventional emergency vehicles.
They even have blue flashing lights and a siren.
Mr Rutterford added: "I was really impressed with Cambridge when I visited for the launch as it lends itself to cycling very well. It has a very good cycle network."
"They even have blue flashing lights and a siren" - They will be the only Cambridge cyclists to have lights on their bikes then
Edited by Killicksparker, 09 October 2011 - 10:44 PM.