Two-wheelin’ to help

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff


ELKHART LAKE FIRST RESPONDERS Lisa Holzmann (on bike), (left to right) Jeff Schmidt, Amy Gross, Darren Lindstrom, Officer Scott Niemi, Kyle Preissner, Cody Schmitt, Amy Brown, Brad Goch and Randy Lawrence show off the squad’s new emergency response bicycle. On the cover, Niemi displays the bike’s lights and sirens to Holzmann, Brown and Preissner, while Holzmann (below) takes the bike for a spin around the Elkhart Lake fire house. — Review photos by Emmitt B. Feldner ELKHART LAKE FIRST RESPONDERS Lisa Holzmann (on bike), (left to right) Jeff Schmidt, Amy Gross, Darren Lindstrom, Officer Scott Niemi, Kyle Preissner, Cody Schmitt, Amy Brown, Brad Goch and Randy Lawrence show off the squad’s new emergency response bicycle. On the cover, Niemi displays the bike’s lights and sirens to Holzmann, Brown and Preissner, while Holzmann (below) takes the bike for a spin around the Elkhart Lake fire house. — Review photos by Emmitt B. Feldner ELKHART LAKE – Emergency responders here could soon be arriving on the scene on two wheels.

The Elkhart Lake Emergency Responders are ready to unveil their newest piece of equipment – a Fuji police bicycle outfitted for emergency medical response.

“It’s a mini-First Responder truck, basically,” Elkhart Lake Police Department Officer Scott Niemi summarized.

The first responders will utilize the bicycle to respond to emergencies in crowded situations in the village where a regular response vehicle might not be able to get through, such as at the Vintage Races, triathlon, Fourth of July fireworks and other public events.

“With this, we can get into access where vehicles can’t get into, anywhere where there is a large crowd. We can go through crowds, go on grass,” First Responders Capt. Lisa Holzmann explained. “We plan to use it for all major events.”

The group hopes to have the bicycle ready to go for the upcoming Schnee Days weekend, Feb. 21-23.

The two saddlebags on the back of the aluminumframe bicycle will carry full first aid equipment and supplies, including a portable defibrillator and oxygen equipment. Altogether, the bicycle will carry an additional 20 pounds of equipment.

The Elkhart Lake First Responders will be the first group in the county to have a bicycle for emergency responses.

Niemi noted that there are some communities across the state located on bicycle trails that utilize bicycles for emergency first response. He also pointed out that the Elkhart Lake Police Department has used bicycle patrols in the village as a regular part of its efforts for 15 years. “We’ve had huge success with that,” he said.

The First Responders paid for the bicycle and the equipment out of their own funds, from donations and fundraising events, according to First Responder Randy Lawrence. The bicycle was purchased from the Back Door Bicycle Shop in Plymouth.

Niemi said all members of the First Responders unit will be trained on the bicycle, including rules of the road, how to ride through crowds and on grass, and other essential skills.

“We’ll do mass training first, then one-on-one training with individual members,” Niemi said. “Before anyone is able to take it out on EMS patrol, they’ll have to go out for one-on-one training.”

Another goal for the bicycle is to make the EMS unit more approachable, Niemi added. “Most locals know about the unit, but tourists often aren’t as familiar with it. And maybe we can recruit some new members.”

The Elkhart Lake Emergency Responders unit currently has 17 members and another in training. “We’re always looking for more members,” Holzmann stated.


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