COVID-19: Bike paramedics reinstated in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside


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“We’re actually recognizable down there. Persons are completely happy to see us and since we’re driving out and in of the alleys and streets there’s a lot we are able to do,” he stated.

“Typically we simply discuss to folks and when there is a matter we are able to take care of it proper there…we do get lots of people flagging us down, after which they gained’t name 911.”

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The group began driving once more on Sept. four and in 10 days they answered 63 calls, which was about 10 per cent of all paramedic calls in downtown Vancouver throughout that point. Metta stated additionally they reply about 20 per cent of all opioid overdose calls.

BC Emergency Well being Companies started the bike paramedic program in 1992. It was one of many first North American emergency service companies to arrange and deploy paramedics on bicycles for main public occasions.

Metta stated there’s a nice want for paramedics within the Downtown Eastside due to the opioid disaster, and infrequently bike paramedics can typically attain sufferers sooner than the ambulance. Or if the ambulance arrives they’ll help the opposite paramedics.

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He stated additionally they journey across the metropolis and cease when somebody waves them over.

Final yr, the bike squad responded to 1,064 calls the place an ambulance was not required to take somebody to the hospital, releasing up ambulances to attend different emergencies.

“If a affected person must go to the hospital typically we are able to there first and cut back the on scene time for the ambulance so then they’ll get to the hospital faster,” stated Metta.

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BC Emergency Well being Companies has a fleet of bicycles utilized by bike squad paramedics in a number of communities round B.C., together with a everlasting bike squad at Vancouver Worldwide Airport.

The bike squads work in pairs and journey specialised mountain bikes with purpose-built medical panniers full of medical provides and tools.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

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