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What and Why Does United Hatzalah Use Ambucycles?
An ambucycle is a motorcycle that has been specially equipped with all of the medical supplies and equipment that an ambulance carries, with the exception of a stretcher, bed, and stair-chair. The purpose of the ambucycle is to circumvent traffic during medical emergencies and allow a trained first responder, EMT, paramedic, or doctor, to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency in the quickest possible time. The difference in minutes saved by an ambucycle as opposed to a car or ambulance in cutting through traffic-congested streets or narrow alleyways can mean the difference between life and death.
The ambucycle was created after a terror attack took place on the crowded one-lane street on Friday night in Jerusalem in 2002. As a result of the location of the attack, ambulances were not able to access the scene of the emergency for more than an hour and emergency crews had to proceed on foot to reach those in need of medical care. A motorcycle was seen winding through the burnt vehicles and injured people on the narrow road-way and one of the EMTs at the scene thought that if this vehicle could make it through, why not put a trained responder with medical equipment on it. Over the past 17 years, ambucylces have become a mainstay of emergency services in Israel, with both of the medical first response organizations utilizing them as well as the police and fire department.
One recent story, where rapid arrival was critical, illustrates just how effective these vehicles can be.
One morning, Aaron was sitting with a friend when he received an alert to an emergency at a building site. A 21-year-old truck driver had just gotten out his truck when he keeled over and collapsed to the ground. The dedicated volunteer jumped up and rushed over to his ambucycle. He sped along the roads and was the first responder to arrive at the location.
Aaron checked for a pulse and found the young man without any sign of life. The experienced volunteer immediately began chest compressions as he upgraded the call. Additional United Hatzalah volunteers arrived quickly to assist him in the strenuous resuscitation. A defibrillator was attached and the device advised a shock. The EMTs ceased touching the body and the man jerked as electricity coursed to his heart. Aaron quickly began the incessant compressions again, keeping blood flowing to the man’s vital organs.
Fifteen minutes and five shocks later, the intensive care ambulance finally arrived. They had just joined the rescue effort when Aaron felt a pulse return. The CPR had been a success. The young man was swiftly placed on a stretcher and whisked off to the hospital while Aaron returned to his friend, gratified to tell him that he had just saved a life.
Thanks in part to Aaron’s ambucycle, he was able to initiate CPR very soon after the moment of cardiac arrest. This intervention proved to be a crucial factor in saving this man’s life.
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