This week, members of the Kingsport Police Department, Kingsport Fire Department, and Sullivan County EMS have been completing a bicycle training course that will prepare them for emergency responses during highly congested events in The “Model City.” The course is being put on by the IPMBA, International Police Mountain Bike Association, and the course instructors are police officers out of Asheville, North Carolina.
The emergency responders that are taking the Public Safety Cyclist course are becoming familiar with maneuvering their bikes through a series of cone obstacles, descending stairways, and also bike maintenance. While some may not think this is a difficult task, many of the bikes are loaded down with up to 30-40lbs of equipment including cardiac monitors, oxygen tanks, and other supplies needed to handle emergencies. These “bike patrol” teams are utilized at various festivals and events that are held throughout the city/county.
The Kingsport Fire Department Bike Medic program was established a few years ago, and has been a great success. The members of the crew have been through a variety of programs in the past, but this is the first time that the IPMBA program has been taught. The bike medics operate in teams of two bikes; one bike is set-up with the cardiac equipment and medications, while the other is equipped with oxygen and airway supplies. The bicycles are not only equipped with the medical equipment to treat a patient, but they also have lights/siren to allow them to maneuver through highly congested areas.
In the past, they have responded to a number of calls during Fun Fest, parades, and road races.
For more information on the IPMBA program, visit www.ipmba.org.