When it comes to first responders in the field of emergency medical services, getting somewhere and getting somewhere fast can be the difference between life and death, or between agonizing pain and relief for a patient. That is why United Hatzalah invented the ambucycle in order to shave precious minutes off of EMS first response times.

Ambucycle in Jerusalem Credit Shira Hershkopf 1024x682 1
Ambucycle in Jerusalem – Credit Shira Hershkopf

Recently, Shimon Eliyahu of Netanya, a volunteer first responder with the organization, just learned how much of a difference the type of vehicle one drives can make a difference.

Shimon joined United Hatzalah just over a year ago and has proven himself to be an exceptionally dedicated volunteer EMT. For more than a year he responded to emergency calls in his car and arrive as fast as he could. A few short weeks ago, the organization deemed him worthy of driving an ambucycle. Shimon was thrilled to receive one and saw just how much it helped not just his response times, but his enthusiasm of responding as well. “It used to be when I would get a call I would deliberate – what are the traffic conditions? Would there be parking? How far is it?” he said. “Now, I just go. These considerations are irrelevant.” Since receiving his ambucycle, this incredible volunteer has been responding to two or three calls every day.

As of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Shimon had already responded to numerous call that morning.  The first involved a child locked in a car. Parents had gotten out of their car and were about to take out their 3-year-old son when the car’s remote had malfunctioned. The door suddenly locked and became inoperable. In Israel’s summer heat, such incidents can rapidly turn deadly.

United Hatzalah’s National Dispatch and Command Center alerted Shimon and other responders in the area to the incident. Shimon immediately jumped on his ambucycle and raced towards the scene arriving in just a few moments. Police arrived as well and the child was extricated from the hot car very quickly. Shimon checked him over and was pleased to see that due to the quick intervention, the child was unharmed.

Later on that morning, a bicycle was struck by a car. Again the organization’s dispatch alerted Shimon, who sped over on his ambucycle to this event as well. This time he was the first on scene and found the 45-year-old bicycle rider screaming in pain. The rider had dislocated and broken his shoulder. Shimon reassured the unfortunate victim as he gently yet firmly bandaged the man’s wounds, splinted his arm and immobilized him, greatly reducing the man’s agonizing pain. Under Shimon’s caring, expert treatment, the man began to relax. By the time an ambulance arrived, the patient had been stabilized and was prepped for transport.

A little later, Shimon was alerted to a serious road accident about 10 km away. With a 4-wheeled vehicle, Shimon wouldn’t have responded as he would have only gotten stuck in traffic on the way.  but now that he has his ambucycle, the dedicated volunteer knew he could bypass the traffic and reach the location in time. He jumped on his ambucycle, weaved through the traffic, and rapidly made it to the scene. Two cars had collided, and one driver was severely injured. Additional EMTs had also arrived and the team worked together providing emergency medical intervention before transferring him into an intensive care ambulance for evacuation.

With an extra boost of support and self-confidence given to him by the organization in the guise of his new ambucycle, Shimon is able to help more people in a shorter time span, and he utilizes it very well