United EMS Workers-AFSCME Local 4911

Cycling for a Cause: West Coast EMS Professionals Honor Fallen Colleagues

How far would you go to show your appreciation for EMS? This past week, EMS professionals from all around the West Coast rode 271 miles from Reno to Sacramento on bike to do just that. They were taking part in an annual tradition called the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, which honors those in the EMS field who have been injured or killed in the line of duty. This was the first year that California has hosted a ride. UEMSW-AFSCME Local 4911’s own Andrew Christopherson and Kenny DeRoque were among this year’s riders.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the risks that EMS professionals take to serve the public. Studies show that EMS workers are three times more likely than the general workforce to suffer an injury on the job. Assaults against providers are sadly common. By drawing public attention to these problems, the Memorial Bike Ride’s organizers hope to find solutions and raise money to assist those affected.

“We’re celebrating folks who dedicate their lives to EMS, but we also want to bring attention to the fact that it’s a stressful job,” said paramedic Andrew Christopherson. “We need a voice, we need knowledge and resources to keep ourselves safe. No scene will be 100% controlled, but with education, proper equipment, and realistic standard operating procedures we can minimize the risks.

United EMS Workers-AFSCME Local 4911 was a sponsor of this year’s ride. Proceeds go to the Fallen Angels Fund, which supports EMS families in crisis. “One thing that really hit home for me was that a lot of the volunteers and support staff were family members and friends of the deceased,” said Christopherson. “Each stop we made was at a fire station where they would have memorials of fallen EMS workers.”

You can learn more and sign up to participate next year by visiting the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride website.

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