Norman Firefighters are rolling out a faster way to respond to emergencies. On Saturday, the department deployed a new bicycle response team to monitor crowded events.
“They're excited to get out there and use it,” said Captain Robert Carrick with the Norman Fire Department.
Carrick said his firefighters are typically first on the scene of an emergency.
“That basically is how the Norman Fire Department is, a mini ambulance to get there while they're waiting for an ambulance, so we can start pretreatment.”
However, when there's a crowd, getting there can take extra time that a patient doesn't have to wait.
“The engine can only go so far with the crowds and then they'll have to get out and walk to those events,” he said.
So, on those days, they will park the engine and head out on two wheels.
“When we have a large event, we'll deploy the bike teams and they can just cruise around and be able to access patients quicker,” Carrick said.
The new Bicycle Response Team monitors events like the OU-TCU game on Saturday to give extra support to Norman Regional EMSSTAT teams already on site.
“The first couple of OU home games they had 100’s of medical calls just inside the stadium,” he said.
The department bought eight new bikes to add to their response arsenal. The firefighters who ride them are EMT certified. Paired in two-person teams, they ride together to bring medical care straight to the patient. Each bicycle is equipped with medical supplies to treat everything from a scratch to a heart attack.
“We're just going to get there earlier than the ambulance possibly could, start pre-treatment to get everything rolling so the patient has a better chance, better outcome,” Carrick said.
The team also will be used during parades, festivals and fairs.