You may have heard about a 10-mile section of Interstate-405, a major freeway in Los Angeles, being closed for the weekend due to the demolition of a portion of a bridge so that the highway could be widened. Dubbed “Carmageddon” and “Carpocalypse”, the closure was expected to cause area-wide gridlock. However, after much hype and fear-mongering by officials and the media, many local residents stayed home and off the highways during the weekend, leading to fewer traffic problems than a normal weekend. The contractors finished the work early, allowing CalTrans to open the I-405 around noon on Sunday, about 18 hours ahead of schedule.
Fire shelters on motorcycles
The freeway closure led to a decision by the Los Angeles Fire Department to create Motorcycle Response Teams, or “Motor Teams”. The LAFD described the Teams on their web site on July 15, 2011:
KLX 650KLR 650 motorcycles (kindly on-loan for the weekend from our friends at Kawasaki Motor Corp.), our Firefighter/EMTs will have the ability to more easily move through traffic enroute to an emergency incident. A two-member team (one team = two motorcycles, each with one Firefighter/EMT) will be strategically placed on both the East and West sides of the I-405 freeway. These teams will also patrol their assigned areas, providing up-to-the-minute intelligence on access and egress issues, as well as continuous monitoring of alternate response routes.
Each Motor Team will be equipped with a cache of Basic Life Support (BLS) equipment, to include an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), oxygen, other essential medical equipment and supplies to handle most medical incidents, until additional assistance arrives. As these motorcycles will be patrolling a largely “brush area,” they will also be equipped with “saddle bags” to allow for the stowing of a fire shelter and some brush firefighting personal protective equipment. Each “rider” will also have a GPS unit attached to the motorcycle, a radio and Departmental maps.
Upon an emergency or medical incident, the Motor Team will take appropriate action in managing the incident and rendering basic medical care, as necessary. The Teams offer our response, safe and quick maneuverability, flexibility and the opportunity to render continuous care until a patient is transferred to another LAFD resource for transport. These motorcycles are not equipped with lights or sirens and therefore, will respond with caution. The Motor Teams will be deployed during daylight hours only, from 6:00am – 9:00pm on both Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17.
It should be noted, this is a “pilot program” only and may or may not be continued, based largely on the success of the program over this weekend. Future use of the “Motor Teams” may include deployment at large scale incidents up to and including earthquakes, brush fires and in times of high hazard, extreme weather conditions.
Thanks go out to Dick