"Contrary to popular belief, I'm totally relaxed as a rider when the lights and sirens go on, although I need to have my wits about me. A flashing light doesn't necessarily stop someone. We are able to break any road rule we need to, within reason. It might be doing u-turns where we're not normally allowed, or going over the posted speed limit, or riding on footpaths as a last resort."
"Our lovely lurid watermelon coloured trauma kit... It's pretty much a diagnostic bag. Things to check peoples' temperature, blood pressure, oxygen levels, blood sugar... Stethoscope... Trauma bandages and things to clean wounds, and some intravenous equipment and a myriad of drugs for pain relief, stopping seizures, nausea and vomiting, through to antibiotics."
"The dash does look quite... Cluttered. As a motorcyclist we take a few glancing looks at the instrument panel. It doesn't matter that all that stuff's there, most of the time I'm not looking at it. At the top there's a rural radio, on the left is the metro radio. We don't pic up the mic or anything, it all goes through the helmet. There's a factory fitted GPS unit, which also talks to the helmet, that's all through that wire down the bottom. It's all interconnected with audio switchers. On the right is an external speaker, so we can hear the radio out of that bike speaker when we're off the bikes, or put one radio channel through the helmet and another through the ear."
"The dispatchers do a reasonable job of dispatching us, but we do also like to keep an ear on things because they might not always be taking the abilities of the bikes into account. We might be the third or fourth closest resource to a particular call, but that call might be on a pedestrian promenade, or in a carpark with a roof too low to let an ambulance in. We can say 'hey, we've got better access to that job, put it on us.'"
Other Images from this Gallery
Jason Learmonth is a paramedic with a difference. Instead of an ambulance, he gets around town on a motorcycle that's kitted out with almost every piece of clinical equipment an ambulance carries. It's part of a trial that's putting two of these machines on the road in Melbourne, Australia, for three years to discover whether the bike's ability to get into hard-to-reach places and move through congested traffic is useful enough to make it a permanent part of the Ambulance service. I followed Jason around for an afternoon to capture some of his extraordinary working day in pictures.
Read the full article: A day in pictures: Melbourne's motorcycle paramedics