Fire Department unveils electric patrol bikes at La Jolla's Station 9

Captain Ed Jones tests the Zuumcraft, complete with medical bag, at Fire station 9 in La Jolla. Ashley Mackin
Captain Ed Jones tests the Zuumcraft, complete with medical bag, at Fire station 9 in La Jolla. Ashley Mackin

By Ashley Mackin

San Diego Fire and Rescue paramedics hope to cover more ground and respond quicker and more efficiently in crowded situations with the four new Zuumcraft Interceptor electric bikes unveiled last week at Fire Station 9 in La Jolla.

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Captain Ed Jones tests the Zuumcraft, complete with medical bag, at Fire station 9 in La Jolla. Ashley Mackin

The vehicles were unveiled at Station 9 because the crew there manages the bike team for San Diego Fire and Rescue, and the Interceptors augment the bike team.

“We have been utilizing bike teams in the City of San Diego for a number of years,” said Emergency Medical Services Operations Support Captain Michael Pacheco. “We were looking for a platform to enable us to better maneuver in crowds and allow the people working on these (bike) teams to reduce the fatigue that’s associated with them.”

The motorized Interceptors are capable of carrying a detachable pack with essential medical equipment to allow paramedics to reach patients and make assessments quickly. Pacheco explained fire trucks can get stuck in traffic and ambulances have limited maneuverability in crowds, so riders on an Interceptor can get to the patient faster, assess the situation and determine whether an ambulance is necessary — saving time.

Zuumcraft founder Tom Boyd said the Interceptor is also cost-effective. Using these bikes saves the cost of sending and stationing an ambulance and fire truck, along with savings on fuel and maintenance costs for such vehicles. For example, Boyd said the cost of having an officer on an Interceptor at a Chargers game for four hours is 7-cents.

Pacheco said he hopes to eventually integrate the Zuumcraft into regular patrols, especially at the beach during summer months.

   
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