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First aid cyclists ensure speedy response

5 September 2011

© InfoRed Cross first aiders have got a new way to reach emergencies quickly at public events – on specially adapted bicycles that help them reach casualties fast with life-saving care.

It was a case of two legs good, two wheels even better at Burghley Horse Trials in Lincolnshire over the weekend. More than 200 Red Cross volunteers were on hand to provide first aid cover along the challenging 32-jump course – but two volunteers were also equipped with new custom-built bicycles to ensure speedy access to any casualties.

Following the Burghley event, a fleet of 26 cycle response units (as they are called) will be rolled out across the UK this month. Each of the bicycles, which were donated by Land Rover, comes fitted with a defibrillator, advanced first aid kit and resuscitation equipment.

Specially adapted cycles

On their first assignment, the bicycles almost immediately proved useful when a call came through to say a man had suddenly collapsed. The cycling volunteers were there in minutes and treated the casualty – ensuring he was comfortable and ruling out anything serious – before the ambulance got there.

The cycles were also a big hit with their riders. Charlie Till, an event first aid volunteer and trainee paramedic, said: "The bikes are so well-made, and specially adapted for us to carry heavy and cumbersome equipment across lots of different types of terrain.”

Fellow volunteer Adam Young added: "The cycles really came into their own when trying to get through the busy crowds at Burghley. Often, we can’t carry all the kit with us on foot but the bikes have everything we need, which is absolutely crucial when you're dealing with a life-threatening incident."

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