Affinity Plus partners with Duluth Fire Department on bicycle EMT unit to support public safety

Unit debuts at 2018 NorthShore Inline Marathon

By Kate Lee, Affinity Plus FCU, September 19, 2018

Photo:  The new Bicycle EMT unit in Duluth debuted last weekend at the NorthShore Inline Marathon, courtesy of a partnership between Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union and the Duluth Fire Departmeny. Pictured L-R: Sydney Perret, Affinity Plus member advisor; Captain Jamie Dawson; Amanda Bruggman, Affinity Plus Duluth branch manager; and Firefighter Corey Danelski.

ST PAUL, MN (September 19, 2018) — In an effort to bolster public safety during Duluth-area festivals and events, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union and several area organizations donated resources to help establish a bicycle Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) unit.

The Duluth Fire Department and Affinity Plus partnered to provide the first four bicycles for the emergency medical service, allowing medical personnel access to events and areas that may be congested and not readily accessible to vehicles.

The new bicycle EMT unit debuted last weekend — Saturday, Sept. 18 — at the NorthShore Inline Marathon, which annually draws thousands of skaters and spectators to Duluth.

Dennis Edwards, City of Duluth Fire Department chief, noted Duluth is continually adding more events and attendees, like Tall Ships, Grandma’s Marathon, Fourth Fest, Blues Fest and others.

“Our city can nearly double in population during these events. We need to provide a safe experience for our citizens and visitors,” Edwards said. “The Duluth Fire Department is continuously evaluating the service we provide and working with our partners to more efficient in public safety.”

Edwards added that as bicycling continues to grow in popularity in Duluth, the Fire Department plans to expand the bike EMT program to include emergency response on off-road trails to respond to medical emergencies in remote areas.

“This new, innovative bicycle EMT service truly has people at the heart of it, and we’re happy to play even a small part in keeping people safe,” said Amanda Bruggman, Affinity Plus Duluth branch manager. “As a credit union, we’re regularly engaged in our community and look to form meaningful partnerships to really be able to make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

Chief Edwards also credited the importance of establishing and strengthening collaborative relationships with community partners.

“Having a relationship with Affinity Plus has allowed us to better equip our Firefighter/EMTs for both water rescue and our bike EMT program,” Edwards said.

“We very much appreciate the assistance that has allowed us to make response more efficient but also safer for our citizens, visitors and our dedicated Duluth firefighters,” he said.

This collaboration is one of many initiatives in recent years in which Affinity Plus and the Duluth Fire Department have partnered.

In fall 2017, the credit union donated funds to the Fire Department to purchase three cold-water rescue suits in response to a lake-drowning tragedy.

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