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Belmont

Firefighters start new bike unit to increase emergency response times

Police officers on bikes are now a common sight in many towns, but firefighters in Belmont can now also be seen pedaling.

The Fire Department recently launched a bike unit to provide its firefighter/paramedics and EMTs an increased presence and a more proactive role at town events. Using a $6,500 state grant, the department purchased two bicycles, uniforms, and equipment, and trained the 10 firefighters assigned to the unit.

Working in teams of two, the unit members can provide Advanced Life Support, including use of an automated external defibrillator, at large gatherings.

Officials said the unit will enhance the department’s ability to respond rapidly at events where larger vehicles may have difficulty gaining access due to large crowds or when the space is confined.

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The unit was first deployed at a charity road race Aug. 28. At that event, unit members responded almost immediately to a call for assistance, and were able to quickly treat an individual needing medical attention.