When people think of Indianapolis, images of automobiles racing around a track at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour come to mind. On Saturday, April 26, however, fast cars were replaced by...bicycles. Race cars cleared the track as nearly 150 public safety cyclists capped off the 18th Annual IPMBA Conference with a 2.5 mile victory lap – the culmination of a week of intense training.
The IPMBA Conference, which is recognized as the premier training event for public safety cyclists, drew participants from 37 states, Canada, and the Netherlands. The conference featured a series of multi-day certification courses, a wide variety of workshops, a product expo, and an obstacle course competition.
EMS agencies represented were: Los Angeles Fire Department, Guilford County EMS, DeKalb County Fire & Rescue, Rutherford County EMS, Boston EMS, East Baton Rouge EMS, Williamson Medical Center EMS, Huron Valley Ambulance, Circleville Fire Department, Troy Fire Department, Cypress Creek EMS, Navajo Nation EMS, Beavercreek Fire Department, Bloomington Hospital, Cabell County EMS, Cobb County Fire & Rescue, Scottsdale Fire Department, Downers Grove Fire Department, Iredell County EMS, Jackson Community Ambulance, North Central EMS, Sterling Rescue, Richmond Ambulance Authority, Community Health Network, Prompt Ambulance, and Wake County EMS.
New on the agenda this year was the 32-hour EMS Cyclist II (EMSC II) Course. This course included such topics as night operations, search and rescue, EMS response to terrorist attacks, and operating in areas of civil unrest. A member of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s SWAT team, Pete Koe, conducted a presentation about the various less-than-lethal weapons used in crowd situations, anticipating that EMS cyclists might be called upon to support police bicycle response teams.
The conference offered an array of workshops specific to EMS bike operations as well as skill development sessions attended by both police and EMS providers. Highlights included Introduction to Tactical Operational Medical Support, Event Pre-Planning: the Medical Threat Assessment, Interagency Operations, and EMS Scene Safety. Always a popular workshop, EMS Scene Safety uses scenario-based training to teach bike medics how to approach and assess scenes, how to position their bikes, and how to handle the hostile scene. The EMS Roundtable generated lively discussions on a wide array of topics affecting EMS cyclists, ranging from what equipment to use and how best to carry it to deployment strategies for different situations.
One of the highlights of the IPMBA Conference is always the obstacle course competition, and this year was no exception. Congratulations to the top three EMS cyclists: Matt Lane and Mike Hudspeth of Guilford County (NC) EMS, and Matt Wiley of Rutherford County (TN) EMS.
The IPMBA Conference provides a unique integrated training experience for police, EMS, and security cyclists. Participants frequently comment that the joint training sessions enable them better understand the challenges each faces, foster positive working relationships, and enhance interagency operations.
The 19th Annual IPMBA Conference will be held April 25-May 2, 2009, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. All EMS cyclists are invited to come and rise above the rest!
© 2008 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Summer 2008 issue of IPMBA News.