San Francisco International Airport to launch bike medic program

San Francisco International Airport plans to launch a bike medic program as soon as next month, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The airport is partnering with the San Francisco Fire Department to bring bike medics to airport terminals and parking areas, where they can navigate traffic better and coast through terminals to quickly reach those in need. The medics could also reduce the number of times the Fire Department has to send a fire truck or ambulance to respond to incidents, freeing up resources for other uses.

Doug Yakel, a spokesperson for SFO, said the program is meant “to increase response time to medical issues inside the terminal buildings.”

“Much like [San Francisco Police Department] patrols, personnel can respond faster inside the facility on a bike compared to driving a vehicle, parking, and entering the facility,” Yakel said.

SEE RELATED: SFO to pay $7.3 million to help lost passengers find their way

The airport will pay the Fire Department for the service, which is expected to cost $435,789 for a three-bike unit in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

“The goal is to have the program up and running by the end of March,” Yakel said.

Paramedics will ride mountain bikes and have modified Advanced Life Support gear. In addition to responding to medical emergencies, they will maintain defibrillators throughout the terminals and establish triage areas in the event of mass-casualty incidents.

Other areas of the airport, such as the Tarmac, will continue to use ambulance vehicles for response.

“We’re excited about this program and believe it will really help enhance our medical response capabilities,” Yakel said.

Los Angeles International Airport launched its own bike medic program as a pilot in October last year. The goals included improving emergency response at LAX and increasing the availability of ambulance and fire services.

The Los Angeles Fire Department also has a bike medic program, which dates back to 2004. The SFFD does not have a similar program.

Los Angeles officials said in October that most EMS incidents do not end in ambulance trips to the hospital.

“Therefore, the current model of routinely sending Fire Companies and Rescue Ambulances to these incidents is not an efficient service model,” said an Oct. 11 announcement by the LAFD.

“Cost effectiveness and mobility allow LAFD Bicycle Medic Teams to bridge the gap between foot patrol and rescue ambulances, which can be the difference between life and death in congested or crowded conditions,” the department’s website states.

There are estimated to be more than 300 paramedic bicycle teams nationwide, according to Los Angeles officials.

Joshua Sabatini
Published by
Joshua Sabatini

Recent Posts

Smoky air closes Alcatraz

Alcatraz and other major visitor attractions in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area are closed this weekend due to unhealthy…

8 hours ago

Striking Boston Marriott workers reach tentative agreement, negotiations continue in San Francisco

Some 1,500 striking Marriott hotel workers in Boston, Mass. have reached a tentative agreement in contract negotiations with the hotel…

9 hours ago

Nov. 18-20: Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour, End of Life Resource Fair, Castle in the Sky, Marion Nestle, Sonics, Esperanza Spalding, Bandstand, Volti and Left Coast Ensemble, Good Charlotte, Thanks to Hank

SUNDAY, NOV. 18 Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour: The 90-minute interactive concert experience for kids and families features live…

9 hours ago

SF Preps: San Francisco Section postpones football semifinals to Thanksgiving Week

The smoke and ash from the Camp fire in Butte County continues to impact local high school sports in the…

10 hours ago

In first hearing to appeal SF scooter permit loss, Spin alleges ‘biased’ process

Scooter company Spin lost its bid to operate in San Francisco but now it’s trying to spin that decision around.…

1 day ago

California fires: Death toll in Paradise rises to 71; more than 1,000 unaccounted for

The death toll from California’s worst fire rose to 71 on Friday, with more than 1,000 people still unaccounted for.…

1 day ago