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Westport Launches Emergency Bike Team

The newly formed Westport Emergency Medical Service Bicycle Response Team can get rolling, thanks to the Westport Kiwanis Club.

The club recently donated funds to Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, a nonprofit which supports the EMS, to buy two police-style mountain bikes and the necessary gear.

The bicycles, each of which is equipped with 40 pounds of lifesaving equipment, will be put into action during special events, such as the Memorial Day Parade and Fourth of July firework celebrations.

"During special events, vehicle access is often obstructed or delayed by large numbers of pedestrian traffic, road closures and areas where vehicles will not fit," said paramedic Michael Salvatore, coordinator of the Bike Team. "EMS Bike Teams can more easily maneuver through tight crowds and restricted spaces, allowing paramedics and EMTs to rapidly gain access to patients and start lifesaving treatment while awaiting the arrival of EMS transport crews."

The lifesaving equipment, carried in special bags mounted to the bikes, includes an Automated External Defibrillator capable of shocking a patient's heart back to life, oxygen tanks and medications to treat allergic reactions and cardiac emergencies.

Two bike team members recently completed a 32-hour EMS cyclist-training program in Virginia in which they learned how to safely maneuver the heavily weighted bikes over obstacles, through rough terrain and through large crowds.

In addition to working crowded events, Bike Team members will work with the Kiwanis Club to organize a public Bicycle Safety Rodeo and other biking events.

Two more bikes are needed to allow the team to operate at full capacity with a pair of two-person teams. Bike team members are working to secure the needed funds. If you would like to donate funds or equipment to the team, contact Michael Salvatore at 203-341-6033. Because Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service is a nonprofit organization, donations are tax deductible.

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