Six Cycle Responders from St John Ambulance at Parookaville Festival in Germany

Weeze, Germany, 24th July 2022

Parookaville is an open-air music festival at Weeze airport in the West of Germany that assembles electronic dance music artists from all over the world. With 250,000 visitors, 9 stages, 4 campsites and over 40,000 overnight campers, Johanniter’s impressive deployment saw volunteer teams from across Germany travel to support the event. Within the Volunteer Swap, six English volunteers from St John Ambulance London Cycle Responder Unit joined their German colleagues at the country’s largest Electronic Dance Music Festival. Here is what Taylan Gungor reports:

“St John Ambulance London Cycle Response Unit (CRU) have a longstanding partnership with the Cycle Response Unit of Johanniter Berlin. Thanks to JOIN, they have organised exchanges for several years, including co-deploying at the London and Berlin marathons, Ride London, and most recently, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations in London.

Cycle Responders offer an important and unique operational capability, deploying in a wide range of operational environments and are able to reach patients quickly. They often work in places, such as festivals, where dense crowds or terrain make it difficult for a vehicle to get through.

Each Cycle Responder rides a mountain bike, customised with specialist equipment, including an Automated External Defibrillator, to provide pedal powered first aid to the patient’s side. The London and Berlin CRU teams are twinned as the units of two capital cities, and are trained to, and operate at, the same high cycling standards.

In the planning and preparations for Parookaville, Johanniter requested the support from the only Cycle Response unit in Germany, the Berlin Fahrradstaffel. The ask was big: 24 hour shifts over 3 days. To meet the significant operational requirements, the London volunteers answered a call out and travelled to bolster their numbers. Thanks to their existing close co-operation, and by working in joint-teams, they successfully delivered an incredible 100 hours of operational deployments over the course of the event.

At the festival, Cycle Responders played a crucial role. Working side by side with local volunteers, they also acted as the first response to medical emergencies across the vast site. Cycle Responders were often the only mobile asset reaching patients first, rapidly assessing, treating, and if required, asking for further assistance.

The event command team expressed their gratitude to the volunteers and were impressed by their positive contribution to the event cover. The significant majority of calls, the cycle responders attended were resolved on scene, saving valuable resources and time for the rest of the event.

Thanks to this swap, St John Ambulance London’s Cycle Responders and Johanniter’s Fahrradstaffel Berlin volunteers further deepened their partnership by experiencing a new event setting, exchanging best practice, and learning from each other.

Furthermore, the unique operational capabilities of teams like the Cycle Responder Unit were able to meet the particular requirements of events across geographies and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to our shared objectives of supporting the communities we all serve.”