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Police, doctors, organisations step up efforts to ‘give way to ambulances’

Dilip Jadhav, project director of the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), said the state government was planning to introduce a single number to consolidate all the emergency services

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: October 26, 2017 3:45:13 am
ambulances in Maharashtra, Police and doctors in Maharastra, Police and ambulance in Maharashtra, Latest news, national news Police personnel are being trained on how to ensure that an ambulance is given top priority on the roads.

A project initiated by the Maharashtra emergency medical services along with the traffic police — `Give way to the ambulance’ — may get a fillip with the introduction of 112, a single emergency number that aims to bring together services of the police, fire brigade and health department. The initiative aims at reducing the response time during emergencies and help both police and doctors assist the patient.

Dilip Jadhav, project director of the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), said the state government was planning to introduce a single number to consolidate all the emergency services. Once launched, the emergency number system will integrate with 100, 101 and 108 — the numbers for police, fire and ambulance services respectively.

Dnyaneshwar Shelke, chief operating officer of ‘MEMS- Dial 108’, said the project was being tested on a trial basis in Mumbai, where navigation of ambulances was being monitored by the police control room.

Meanwhile, across the state, police personnel are being imparted training on how to ensure that an ambulance is given top priority on the roads.

Ashok Morale, deputy commissioner of police, traffic, said special arrangements are being made to assist local residents who require immediate ambulance services. “Recently, we got a call about a Delhi-based senior citizen who had suffered a heart attack and required critical care management… time was of the essence as the family, after bringing their relative from Delhi to Pune airport, had requested police to help the ambulance reach Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in the shortest possible time. We helped them take the shortest route and ensured that the ambulance reached the hospital within 20 minutes,” said Morale.

Awareness programmes about ‘giving way to ambulances’ have also been stepped up in the last few years. Maheshkumar Sartape, a police inspector who was earlier posted at Warje before being transferred to Mumbai, has made several documentaries and short films to create awareness about the need to give way for emergency vehicles like ambulances. “Unknowingly, we often don’t give way for ambulances while waiting at a traffic signal. No work can be more important than the person inside the ambulance, who is fighting for his life and waiting to reach the hospital,” said Sartape.

Mumbai based RADHEE Foundation has also taken a lead role in the initiative and tied up with several agencies to ensure that critical patients get medical aid. “Every day, at least 24,000 critical patients in India face a delay in getting medical aid… we aim to reduce this by 50 per cent by 2020,” said Dr Rita Savla, founder-director of the RADHEE Disaster and Education Foundation.

The campaign has prompted the state transport department to issue a Government Resolution, stating that each vehicle should move to the left, reduce its speed and reserve the right lane for the emergency vehicle.

“We also set up a special helpline number — 8879221100 — for ambulance drivers in Mumbai… every driver who is carrying emergency patients can call up this number, so that traffic police can create a Green Corridor for the ambulance till the hospital. Step by step, we are covering the entire state with such activities,” said Dr Savla.

In Pune, Dr Fayaz Pasha — in-charge of emergency medical services at Jehangir Hospital and one of the founders of the Life Savers’ Club, set up in 2004, said the club has reached out to over 5,000 people including corporates, school students and housewives, to educate them about the need for giving way to ambulances.

“With our ambulances also being a mini hospital on wheels, the focus is now on reaching the patient in the shortest possible time. We are educating people about identifying three different sirens, including a critical distress siren, so that they can respect the need for the ambulance to reach the hospital quickly,” said Dr Pasha.

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