Some businesses sink huge amounts of money into research to identify the needs of their customers. Knowing such information about your customers is one of the keys to success.
We do research in the business of health, too, to identify what’s on the horizon for what our patients need.
Sometimes, though, the needs of customers are so obvious that little research is required. All you have to do is listen and watch what’s going on around you to know what’s needed.
Such was the case when we created BERT early this year. The acronym stands for Bicycle Emergency Response Team. BERT is operated through our emergency medical services department, and it is the only bicycle EMS team in northern Colorado.
We have 17 EMS responders available to ride bicycles during large outdoor events that are commonly held in our area. The responders are paramedics and emergency medical technicians on our staff, and EMTs in our EMS reserve corps.
The bikes are equipped with medical equipment and supplies necessary for providing emergency care to injured event participants until an ambulance can arrive. BERT riders are equipped with radios that keep them in close contact with ambulances and EMS dispatch.
The need for BERT flowed out of the many local events that have large crowds or may cover wide ranges of territory—times where access may be difficult for our ambulances. These are events like the hugely crowded 4th of July celebration in the Fort Collins City Park and the popular Colorado Marathon that goes from the Poudre Canyon, through the rural countryside and into Fort Collins.
BERT riders patrolled more than a dozen events during the spring and summer. In the coming year, the number of events may likely increase to about two dozen.
BERT riders offer another important service, too.
Because the land in and around Fort Collins is generally flat, many residents ride bicycles for enjoyment and daily transportation to work, shopping and other destinations. BERT riders work in conjunction with the Bicycle Pedestrian Education Coalition, Safe Kids Larimer County and Healthier Communities Coalition of Larimer County to provide safety classes, bicycle rodeos and a helmet usage program.
The educational component is important because there has been a huge increase in bicycle traffic in our area in the last few years. Bicycle accidents seem to be on the increase, too.
BERT is funded by Poudre Valley Health System, and local companies and agencies have begun to realize the service’s importance. New Belgium Brewing Company, for example, recently became a supporter by donating funds to purchase more bicycles and emergency medical equipment.
I talk about BERT, of course, to emphasize the importance of listening to what your customers need—and to say that it doesn’t always take a lot of formal research and large expenditures.
But, too, I want to thank New Belgium for its support and, most importantly, help spread the word about this new program—our BERT—that makes a meaningful difference in our community.