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'Ambulance Bikes' Equipped With Oxygen Will Patrol Flushing Meadows Park

By Katie Honan | February 10, 2016 5:25pm
 The bikes were funded with $8,000 from Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.
The bikes were funded with $8,000 from Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

CORONA — The EMTs from the Corona Community Ambulance Corps know Flushing Meadows-Corona Park like the back of their hands.

But the winding roads and unmarked paths inside the park can be challenging to navigate with lumbering ambulances even for the most savvy emergency workers, they say.

"It takes half hour to 45 minutes ... just to get into the park," Al Perna, the ambulance group's president, said.

Starting this summer, his group will begin patrolling with the help of "ambulance bikes" — a supercharged vehicle he's dreamed of since taking over the volunteer group in 2014.

Perna said the bikes — which were made possible thanks to $8,000 in funds he received from Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland — will make his staff more mobile and able to reach more people quickly, especially in the busy summer. 

Starting this summer his team will have four bikes out in the park. The bikes will be equipped with oxygen, a defibrillator and other medical items to help teams of EMS workers assist patients wherever they are in the park, Perna said.

Two bikes will go out at a time, and will have an ambulance nearby as backup.

"A lot of the kids are getting hurt because they're not getting the attention they need," he added.

While the bikes can't transport patients, they'll allow EMTs to rapidly reach people who may have trouble breathing, have minor injuries or just need to be looked at by a medical professional, Perna said. 

Each of the bikes will be equipped with LED lights, sirens, and 9-foot flags to help both an ambulance or a sick or injured parkgoer easily spot them.

"The guys will be 'Easy Riding,'" he joked. "People can see them out there, spot them."

The bikes should be ready this spring, Perna said, who was also honored with his team last week for their work during the nearly record-setting blizzard. 

Ferreras-Copeland praised the EMTs, who trudged through the record-setting snow to transport patients, including a 10-year-old girl who was bitten by a snake.

"You carry the essence of this community, which is why having you here is so important to Corona and to me," Ferreras-Copeland said. 

"When the volunteers of the Corona Community Ambulance Corps. respond to an emergency, they don't just do it as medical professionals, they responds as genuinely concerned friends, neighbors and keepers of this community."