LAX adding more medics on bikes to improve response times

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Los Angeles International Airport has a plan to improve its response times to sick or injured guests at the airport, and that plan involves bicycles and motorized carts. (KABC)

Los Angeles International Airport has a plan to improve its response times to sick or injured guests at the airport, and that plan involves bicycles and motorized carts.

It's not easy for an ambulance responding to an emergency call at LAX to maneuver through all the terminal traffic.

"They're big. They take up a lot of room. They block traffic. This will not be blocking any traffic. We can zip around the airport in this a lot faster than we can in a rescue and because of that, we're going to be getting to the calls a lot faster," said Jonathan Lang, a paramedic with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Lang is talking about a medical cart, which he'll drive to respond to calls at all nine LAX terminals. Medics on bikes, which used to only work on heavily trafficked travel days, will also serve passengers every week.

"The typical traveler here does not want to take the time to be assessed, they want to catch their flight. So, we're raising the level of expertise in that area by having a nurse practitioner come out here and do a patient assessment, and we can put the traveler at ease by saying, 'You've been looked at by an EMS professional, you're fine to travel.' Or, conversely, we find something serious, we're going to emphasize to that patient, 'You need to go to the hospital,'" said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas

EMS officers assigned to LAX are badged so they're allowed to access secure parts of the airport.

Also, the hallways and elevators are wide enough for bikes and the medical cart.

LAX sees 200,000 passengers each day, plus employees. The LAFD said sending rescue ambulances to the airport has not been cost nor time efficient.

"We anticipate we're going to have positive metrics at the end of this, and that would lead to an expansion of hours. Hopefully someday we'll get to seven days a week," said Terrazas.

The pilot program, launched Wednesday, will be re-evaluated in six months.

Related Topics:
safetylos angeles fire departmentlos angeles international airportairport newsLos Angeles
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