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Cincinnati Fire Department to debut medical bike unit at Riverfest

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - After months of planning, the Cincinnati Fire Department is getting a bike unit.

"They're going to be able to cover ground much faster than paramedics on foot. Once we get that call, we're able to get to the victim much, much faster than a vehicle would," Capt. Kevin Uhl said.

Uhl says it was created with Riverfest and other big-crowd events like Oktoberfest and Taste of Cincinnati in mind. Because there are so many people, imagine trying to get an ambulance through those crowds.

"Some things like vehicles and Polaris [ATVs] and Gators can't navigate steps. They can't navigate in tight areas just like the mountain bikes can," Uhl said.

Uhl says the unit would not be possible without the help from the Cincinnati Fire Foundation.

This first team will be all paramedics.

"We'll be carrying our basic first aid supplies like band-aids, ice packs and splinting all the way through to defibrillators," Uhl said.

The team of eight won't ride around together. They'll be spread out to cover more ground.

The department turned to the Cincinnati Police Department to get up to speed on their bike skills. After all, it's not easy riding a bike through a crowd.

"The vast majority of the class was working on slow speed skills and riding a bike really slowly down steps, over curbs and around obstacles and that was very strenuous," Uhl said.

There will be tens of thousands of people along the riverfront, so it's very important you make sure to look around and are able to describe where you are in case you need help so crews can get to you quickly.


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