LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – To make sure emergency response time is quick and efficient this Oktoberfest, Tri-State Ambulance and UW-L Police are hoping their new procedures will help steer through the large crowds.
With a team of just two bicycles stocked with medical packs, Tri-State Ambulance said they're equipped to care for a patient.
"In each bike, there is the same amount of equipment, the same things that we would use on any call that comes out of an ambulance for the first 10 minutes," said Jay Clark, Tri-State operations supervisor.
Clark said Tri-State's bike team allows them to treat people in a crowd, like the one during Oktoberfest.
"Bringing a large ambulance or a larger vehicle into a place where you'd have to move out people could be very dangerous, and in many cases our bikes can get in very close to patients without a lot of disruption to the crowds," Clark said.
So having bikes lets these medics gain access to see if a patient needs to go to one of Tri-State's deployed ambulances.
Tri-State will have 10 deployed ambulances during Oktoberfest and increase their staff 30 percent, according to Clark.
UW-L Police also boost their staff.
"It serves as preventive, more or less a defensive, posture," said UW-L Police Chief Scott Rohde.
Rohde said he hopes more police presence on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods leads to better behavior.
If not, the new station has a room that allows for interviews, processing and alcohol testing under camera surveillance.
Rohde said 70 percent of incidents his department handles Oktoberfest weekend are on the west side of campus. So this year they're implementing a temporary processing center on the 1300 block of Badger Street.
Instead of bringing a person all the way to the east side facility, or citing him or her in a large crowd, police will have an on-site processing center to speak to that person in private, Rohde said. There will also be printers and clerical staff to assist with citations.
"It also reduces the drama of police contact for people; calms everything down," Rohde said.
"Calm" may not be synonymous with Oktoberfest, but these departments are working to make sure emergency response is as efficient as possible.
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