Bike medics make their debut at LAX
Next time a flyer is taken sick at the world’s fourth largest airport, their guardian angel may arrive clad in a crash helmet.
CITY OF STARS: Passengers at America's second airport can now expect to see bike-riding patrols making the rounds
Los Angeles International (LAX) is now the stage of a six-month trail in which bicycle-riding medics are being wheeled out to care for ailing passengers.
It has been implemented because data from the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), one of the partners in the project, shows that most medical incidents at LAX do not require ambulance transport to the hospital.
Working with Los Angeles World Airports, (LAWA), the fire department reasoned that routinely dispatching fire engines and ambulances was not efficient, in time or cost.
Instead, two advanced life support (ALS) cycle teams will respond to calls, supported by an Advanced Provider Response Unit (APRU), a kind of stripped-down electric ambulance, staffed by a nurse practitioner and a firefighter/paramedic.
“This pilot programme allows the LAFD to provide additional quick-response firefighter/paramedics at Los Angeles International Airport to serve the travelling public as well as the hundreds of people who work at the airport,” said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas.
“We are excited to partner with LAWA to bring the Advanced Practitioner Response Unit and the two cycle teams as additional resources here at the airport and to handle all manner of EMS calls, from low acuity issues to critical medical emergencies.”
The Vice President of the Board of Airport Commissioners, Valeria Valasco, said: “With more than 200,000 passengers at LAX each day, plus the thousands of employees it takes to run the fourth-busiest airport in the world, getting appropriate medical care to sick or injured guests and workers is very important to us, We believe this pilot program will enhance the quality of care at the airport, a crucial part of improving the guest experience.”
LAX welcomed a record 80.9 million passengers in 2016, and is on pace to break that record this year. As the number of passengers has increased, so have the requests for emergency medical services at the airport, which is served by companies in Battalion 4.
The pilot program will include clear metrics to evaluate its success. At the end of the initial six-month period, the results will be evaluated in order to determine if it should be continued and, if so, should the work hours be expanded.
“When there is a call for medical help, time is of the essence,” said Pat Gannon, LAWA Deputy Executive Director for Public Safety and Security. “This new bike medic pilot program, which the LAFD developed through the outstanding working relationship we share, allows first responders to move quickly through crowds, assess the situation, and get to work rendering aid. Whether they are able to handle the call on their own, or they can provide care until an ambulance arrives, the bike medic program adds a new dimension to our public safety response options, and is another way we are working to increase safety, security, and efficiency for the traveling public and more than 53,000 badged employees at LAX.”