Four years ago, our July 4th fireworks were marred by a cardiac arrest. Enormous crowds kept Westport’s Emergency Medical Service from getting an ambulance to the patient as rapidly as they would like.
For years, sitting around the day room, EMTs had talked about forming an EMS bike team. Spurred by that unfortunate incident, Mike Salvatore — a paid EMS crew chief and paramedic already certified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association — began seeking funds.
That first year there were a few members who, like Mike, were previously certified. Last year he brought in an IPMBA instructor. Last month, a 2nd Westport team went through the process.
There are now 10 certified members. Each specialty mountain bike has emergency lights and a siren.
Each carries 40 pounds of essential medical and trauma equipment, including oxygen and a defibrillator.
Bike teams — a minimum of 2 members each — work a wide variety of events, including road races, parades, Taste of Saugatuck and the fireworks (where they were crucial early responders during another cardiac arrest).
The bikes take a huge beating. The ones purchased 3 years ago are in desperate need of repair and/or replacement.
Like all of EMS, the bike teams fundraise for their needs. Their goal is $20,000.
That covers the maintenance of current bikes, and the purchase of new bikes, equipment and specialized uniforms.
Donations can be sent to: Westport EMS, 50 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880. Put “Bike Team” on the memo line. Online, click the PayPal button at http://www.westportems.org/donate, and list “Bike Team” in the “Honor/Memory of” section.
Then hope you never have to see EMTs biking up to take care of you.
Though if you do, your contribution will insure that they’ll be there very, very quickly.