Andover

Andover Introduces EMS Bike Team

The hope is that the team will be able to access patients at crowded events like road races and parades faster than an ambulance or other vehicle

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The Andover Fire Rescue will be rolling out a new unit, quite literally. 

The EMS Bike Team will be responding to emergencies quickly when an ambulance or other vehicle is not able to get there first. 

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Dicky Krafton will be part of the 14-member unit.

"It's going to provide us with faster access in crowds to patients when they need care," he said, adding that the unit will be deployed during things like road races and parades.

They will provide basic life support while an ambulance is dispatched for more complex care.

"We have oxygen, we have a defibrillator, bleeding control, drugs for diabetes and cardiac emergencies, overdoses, and all your basic first aid equipment."

Chief Michael Mansfield said the new unit will help with community engagement.

"It's a good public relations tool as well," he said. "These folks who are part of this team will be much more approachable to the general public."

The department had local help rolling the initiative out. The running club The Merrimack Valley Striders, along with the Dave McGillivray Foundation, started conversations with the department after participating in big road races with thousands of people and road closures.

These organizations are also funding this initiative with $22,000 to cover the cost of equipment and training, said Tom Licciardello with MVS.

"Getting medical aid to any participant in need could be a real challenge. Even getting an ambulance down the road is really difficult."

The chief said the maintenance for the bikes is only about $100 annually and hopes to continue to grow the program in the upcoming year. They expect to deploy the bike team for the upcoming Memorial Day parade. 

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