THE Hunter’s St John Ambulance volunteers will be the first outside Sydney to use bikes to monitor crowds at major events.
In a first for a NSW regional area, the officers will be able to weave through crowds faster than on foot and cover bigger distances at events such as the Fat As Butter music festival and Australia Day celebrations.
The ambulance service has received funds close to $100,000 from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation to establish a Bicycle Emergency Response Team.
The grant enabled the purchase of a vehicle, bike trailer, six purpose-built bicycles, first aid and oxygen kits and radios.
St John Ambulance NSW chief executive Mark Newton said establishing a new response team program to service Newcastle and Northern NSW was imperative as events increased in popularity.
St John ambulance volunteers attended 354 events in the Hunter last year including the Fat As Butter music event, the Maritime Festival, Australia Day celebrations and Anzac Day marches.
The program will be based in Newcastle but will travel to large events across northern NSW.
Ambulance officers treat injuries at events from cuts and bruises to cardiac arrests.