Frequently Asked Questions
While on duty, our riders are often asked questions about Blood Bikes East and about being a volunteer rider. We have collated below all the questions we have been asked and as many as we can think of. Should you have a question not covered here, simply visit the Contact Us page and let us know. Once answered, we will add it to this page.
How Can I Become A Rider Volunteer?
Just visit our ‘Volunteer‘ page to get more information.
Are There Any Restrictions On Being A Volunteer?
There are a few obvious requirements. Firstly, in order to be a rider volunteer, you must have a full motorcycle licence and been riding for 2 years unrestricted. A clean licence is obviously a strong preference, but if you have 2 to 3 points then we will certainly consider your application. Secondly, Garda vetting will be conducted on all applicants and as such you must have no criminal convictions or pending criminal actions against you. Thirdly, as a rider volunteer, you must be an advanced rider with a minimum RoSPA silver or higher certificate. Finally, you must be free to be on shift at least twice per month. If you volunteer as a rider, it does not mean always riding, but could be a combination of 1 shift riding and a second shift fundraising.
I Don't Ride A Motorbike, Can I Volunteer?
Yes, absolutely. We are looking for car drivers, volunteer fundraisers, volunteer administrative staff and even anyone who wants to run occasional promotional or fundraising events. If you can donate any time to helping us achieve our goals, simply visit our ‘Volunteer’ page for more information
Do You Use Your Own Bikes?
No. Blood Bikes East has its own fleet of fully serviced and decaled bikes.
What Type Of Bikes Does Blood Bikes East Use?
We currently have a fleet of 2 Honda Deauvilles and 3 Honda NC750xs, used for City work, plus a Honda Pan-European and a Kawasaki GTR for cross-country link-ups. We also have 4 cars, including a Skoda Karoq (provided free of charge by Annesley Williams & Skoda), which are invaluable for bulky deliveries, during very bad weather or in deepest winter, when riding a bike is simply not safe.
Do You Have Blue Lights/Can You Use Them?
No, our bikes do not have Blue Lights or Sirens fitted.
Do You Have The Same Road Use Remit As Gardai Or Paramedic Riders/Drivers?
No. Blood Bikes are not classed as ‘Emergency Vehicles’ and as such our volunteers cannot break red lights or exceed the speed limit. We rely on the skill of our riders and drivers to get through the traffic safely and quickly, with due care for all other road users.
Are You All Paramedics?
No. Again, there are a couple of paramedic volunteers, but our remit is simply medical transport, so the only requirement is that we can ride and drive safely and efficiently. A number of our volunteers are trained first responders, but they have done that in their own time as an extension to their volunteering efforts.
What Training Do You Have?
All our riders are advanced riders. Increasingly this means the highly respected R0SPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) certification for motorcycle riding, the highest level of civilian accreditation. It is essentially the same certification as Gardai riders achieve, although they then go on to an elite rider course, not available to civilians. The test is based on the motorcycle rider’s bible “Motorcycle Roadcraft”, which teaches riders better awareness, observation, machine control and ultimately a much higher appreciation for hazard awareness.
Is There A Minimum/Maximum Age To Be A Volunteer?
Yes, volunteers must be a minimum of 25 years old. In terms of maximum age, for insurance reasons our rider volunteers can no longer ride above 70 years old. However, we welcome non-rider volunteers up to any age and would welcome the maturity they bring to our fundraising and administrative efforts.
What Equipment Do You Carry?
The only key piece of equipment required for our role is a size 16 insulated box for carrying blood, milk or temperature sensitive medications. These boxes can maintain constant temperature for up to 8 hours.
What Geographical Areas Do You Cover?
Blood Bikes East covers Dublin city and the greater Dublin area. Together with our sister Blood Bikes organisations across the country, who cover their respective regions, we connect the regional hospitals to their Dublin counterparts when medical transport is required.
What Actually Happens On A Typical Call-Out?
Typically, the Controller receives a call from a hospital. They then call the most relevant volunteer on duty. We normally have 2 on duty and the closest to the hospital will receive the call. The vehicles are fitted with trackers, so the controller can give a rough estimate of time to arrival at the hospital in question. All riders have Bluetooth devices in their helmet, so they can take the call even while riding. The call is typically seconds, with the controller simply saying “Pickup from X, deliver to Y please”. However for more detailed instructions they will normally pull over to talk. The controller will also indicate if the call is rated as Urgent or Emergency. All calls are treated as Standard unless the controller indicates otherwise. Standard calls mean that should they be having a coffee break, they can comfortably finish it before departing. Urgent means that they must leave immediately. Emergency is very rare and may require a Garda Escort.
What Other Groups Exist?
Along with Blood Bikes East there are seven other Blood Bike groups serving Ireland. These are Blood Bike South East (The newest group), Blood Bike South, Blood Bike Mid West, Blood Bike West, Blood Bike North West, Cú Chulainn Blood Bikes (based in the North East) and Blood Bike Leinster.
What Do You Carry?
We carry literally anything that a hospital needs transported. In most cases it is blood and other samples, medicines, medical equipment, test results, documents, breast milk and transplant related tissues or documentation.
Are You Certified To Do This Kind Of Work And Transport The Sensitive Materials You Do?
Yes. Blood Bikes East will only transport packages for hospitals with which we have agreed SLAs and all packages are delivered point-to-point and are fully traceable. The vehicles have GPS trackers fitted and the driver/rider is contactable at all times by the controller. The packages are sealed and the volunteer has no access to the contents or knowledge of what they are carrying. Volunteers are trained in Good Distribution Practice which covers the handling of sensitive materials and medication during transport.
How Do The Hospitals Communicate With The Riders?
When a hospital requires a package to be delivered, they call the dedicated Blood Bikes East controller phone number, which is manned permanently and in rotation. The controller takes the details of the pick-up and delivery point and level of urgency and then calls the rider on duty, who then sets off to attend the call-out.
How Do You Track The Deliveries?
Firstly, all our vehicles have technology installed which gives live and mapped tracking information. This system is provided free of charge by In-Car Solutions. Secondly, on arriving at the pick-up location, the volunteer records the vehicle being used, their own name, the person they picked up from and the time of pick-up in the official docket book. They also write the docket number on the package, and place an anti-tamper seal on it. At the delivery location, the person who accepts delivery and time of delivery is also marked in the docket book. Finally the volunteer then confirms delivery with a text message back to the controller. The text message includes the pick-up and delivery points, the time that the delivery was completed, the name of the person signing for delivery and the number of the unique docket slip number.