Shannon Dye, Shelley Goroski, Kris Hasbargen, Maureen Holden, Paula Kolle, Carol Radermacher, Kathy Stanley and Todd Zabel
West Fargo Fire Department
With their slow-moving floats, colorful performers and crowds of people all gathered to celebrate, parades can be magical events.
But the same things that cast the magic can also make parades dangerous under the wrong circumstances. If someone has a medical emergency in the middle of a crowded event, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to quickly get an emergency vehicle through the crowds to the victim.
In researching ways to best solve the problem, the West Fargo Fire Department found a solution in bicycles equipped with emergency response gear.
“Bike teams allow our medical responders to navigate through large crowds in a faster manner,” remarks Jason Carriveau, West Fargo Fire & Rescue captain. “Getting to the patient in need faster could potentially aid in saving lives.”
The only dilemma was their budget did not allow for an EMS bicycle program. So Jason turned to the community for help.
When Todd Zabel learned what the fire department was trying to do, he didn’t hesitate to help – recruiting his co-workers to pool enough Pay It Forward funds to buy the remaining 3 bicycles the department needed.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity to show our support for the fire department and the great work they do protecting our community,” Todd affirms. “It was rewarding to be able to make the donation. Supporting our police and firefighters is something to be proud of, because they are critical to our community.”
Kris Hasbargen readily joined in the effort, inspired by Jason’s passion for the project.
“His presentation of the benefits to the community really gave you goosebumps,” she comments. “Since we actively participate in community events, we get to see firsthand what they’re doing. It’s amazing to be able to make such a contribution to the community.”
Members of the EMS bike program will travel in pairs and carry the same medical supplies – including automated external defibrillators – on their bikes that they bring on other medical calls. The program will help improve emergency response for the crowds and for the people who live in the areas where large, public events are held.
“The other positive of having an EMS bike team is that our firefighters are much more approachable and can engage with the community easier,” Jason notes. “The donation from Bell was extraordinary. The best part is that this goes straight back to the community and visitors in our great city of West Fargo. The Pay It Forward program is a program that sets the standard for other area businesses.”
Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell Bank gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.