EMS agency decreases response time with bike crew
A new bike crew is expected to boost response time and community relations, with responders pedaling daily through town and patrolling large-scale events
By Tawnya Panizzi
FOX CHAPEL, Pa. — A new bike crew at Foxwall EMS is expected to boost response time and enhance community relations, with responders pedaling daily through Aspinwall and also patrolling large-scale events in Fox Chapel.
“This gets our providers to calls faster than an ambulance can,” Commander Josh Worth said. “We carry an AED, medications and other equipment that we can use to initiate care until a crew gets there.”
Foxwall EMS serves Aspinwall and Fox Chapel. Founded in 1978 and based along Squaw Run Road, it is the only EMS in the North Hills area to utilize a daily bike patrol, Worth said.
Cost for the new program was about $2,000, mostly to outfit the bikes which were donated by Carnegie Mellon University campus police.
Worth said he has about 15 volunteers on his crew that are bike-trained, which means that a team should be able to cruise through Aspinwall almost every day.
“It's the perfect environment here to bike,” Assistant Chief Kevin Albright said. “There's a dense residential district and people are out, able to interact with us.”
Aspinwall Manager Melissa Lang-O'Malley said council and residents both appear eager to have Foxwall personnel in the community and attending parades, concerts and other social events.
“Having them available to maneuver through large crowds and tight areas helps to give our residents an added level of safety and peace of mind,” O'Malley said.
Biking through Fox Chapel proves more difficult, Worth said, but Foxwall bikers will attend large events at Shady Side Academy and perhaps events at Beechwood Farms, both in the borough.
“The bikes can be requested for any community,” he said.
In his first week on the road, Albright said he's already talked with dozens of Aspinwall residents who have waved him down from their porch or sidewalk.
“It's nice to interact with the community in a non-emergency setting,” he said. “When we're driving around in the truck, we can't stop every block and talk to people.”