Texas entertainment district is putting medics on bikes to enhance safety
MedStar bike medics are providing treatment to the injured resulting is a dramatic reduction in ambulance and fire calls
By Luke Ranker
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
FORT WORTH, Texas — If you get hurt while having a good time in Fort Worth’s popular West 7th entertainment district, you may not see an ambulance weaving through the crowded streets.
Instead, medics on bicycles could peddle to your aid.
Since September MedStar bike medics have ridden along side Fort Worth police bike officers, providing treatment to the injured or sick rapidly. The result is a dramatic reduction in ambulance and fire calls in the often car-cluttered area, and a sharp increase in overall medical calls.
The partnership was the brainchild of Lieutenant Fred Long and Commander Cynthia O’Neil, Fort Worth PD’s West Division Commander, according to a statement from the Fort Worth Police Department. Ambulances and fire trucks often struggle to navigate the narrow, crowded streets.
“Our bicycle officers were dealing with the logistics of trying to get MedStar and the fire department into this area for medical calls, either when people called 911, or when officers wanted someone to be evaluated for a medical or trauma incident,” O’Neil said in statement from the police department. MedStar has a well-established bicycle medic team, so we felt it would be valuable to invite the MedStar bike medics to pair side-by-side with our bike officers”
The partnership has kept ambulances and fire trucks available for other calls, said MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky.
Prior to the partnership starting in September, MedStar ambulances responded to 40 calls in West 7th while the fire department had 25 calls. To date this year, those numbers have fallen to 29 ambulance calls and nine fire department calls, a 64% reduction. Meanwhile, MedStar has assisted in 50% more medical calls, according to MedStar.
Two officers generally ride with two medics in an area bound by West Seventh Street to the north, Bledsoe Street to the south, Foch street to the east and University Drive to the west. The patrol is during prime bar time — 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
For now, the pairing will be limited to West 7th, but could expand to other small, high volume areas where emergency vehicles have difficulty accessing patients, Zavadsky said.
©2019 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram