Pedaling Paramedics Will Debut at Parade

The Chinese New Year celebration in Alhambra this year will be highlighted by pageantry and paramedics.

The city’s Fire Department will debut its Paramedic Bicycle Response Team at the annual parade, dispatching two pedaling paramedics who can weave through throngs of party-goers to treat any trouble.

“In the last six years, there has been close to 10 medical calls on the parade route every year, and there is a delay in getting through the crowds,” said Fire Marshal John Kabala, touting the expected efficiency of the paramedics’ bicycles.

There have been no reports of fatalities due to slow response times, but Kabala said the bikes’ speed and sleekness may help save a life.


In the event of a medical emergency, the bikes will be followed by an engine and a paramedic truck, officials said. But while the cumbersome vehicles are en route, the bicycle paramedics will be able to administer advanced life support.

The bikes will be equipped with oxygen, defibrillators, intravenous solutions, trauma supplies and obstetrical kits.

The only public medical agency in the county to offer this program, Alhambra bought the bikes through a $5,000 donation from the Ortel Corp. Initially the bikes were to be used strictly in large events, such as the city’s July Fourth celebration and the annual 8-kilometer run. But Kabala said the agile vehicles could be useful in a variety of situations, including earthquakes, when roads might be blocked and immediate response is necessary.