By Fazeena Saleem
Certain things in life are often ignored or taken for granted; we forget that a little knowledge about these things can help us save a life.
Do you know the exact address of your residence and workplace? Have you ever realised that a life could be saved by knowing your street name, building number or other details that describe your location?
Knowing your exact location is essential for an ambulance to reach you quickly in case of an emergency. Even when you go to a beach or the desert, it is important to know the name and location of the place. Otherwise, an ambulance would not reach you on time in an emergency and the situation could worsen.
“It is very important to know your location, so we can reach you fast. The emergency can be a serious trauma where every second counts. A few seconds of delay could risk a life,” said Chaker Khenissi, Operations Manager, Ambulance Service, Hamad Medical Corporation.
‘Help us Help You’
The Ambulance Service is running a campaign asking the public to ‘Help us Help You’, in which it acknowledges public support and the will to help save lives.
The campaign addresses the role the public can play in saving lives, and highlights five ways in which people can help the Ambulance Service provide fast and effective care.
It asks the public to do five things to help save lives: Dial 999 immediately in a medical emergency; know your location so the ambulance can reach you easily; answer all questions on the call so the paramedics know what support you need; follow all instructions given by the emergency call handler, as it may help save a life; and give way to ambulances on the road.
The Ambulance Service aims to distribute cards, printed in English and Arabic and listing the above five things, to everyone in the country.
“We aim to educate every person in Qatar about the five ways to save a life, and make sure everyone has this special business card,” said Rashid Andaila, Public Relations Manager for the Ambulance Service.
The need to create awareness about emergency medical services has risen with an increase in the incidence of different types of accidents in the country.
During the last five years, cases of minor and major injuries treated at the Trauma Center of Hamad Medical Corporation have nearly doubled in number. More than 80 percent of these cases result from motor vehicle accidents, and the second biggest cause is falling from heights.
The Trauma Center evaluates more than 5,300 trauma and injured patients each year, of which more than 3,000 are admitted to the hospital.
On average, the Ambulance Service receives 321 calls every day, and 176 of them involve critical cases. The number of calls increases 10 percent each year. The Air Ambulance service responds to an average of 100 to 110 calls every month and the majority of the cases involve road accidents or trauma emergencies.
An estimated 40,000 children are injured annually due to poisoning, burns, choking, falls and being inadvertently hit in the driveway, and 85 percent of these injuries occur at home.
Around 200 serious cases of choking, and more than 500 cases of poisoning are seen by the emergency department of Hamad General Hospital and the Al Sadd paediatric emergency each year.
“The majority of accidents are preventable,” says Dr Ahmad Zarour, Director, Trauma Intensive Care Unit, Hamad Medical Corporation.
Know the 5 ways to save a life
1. Dial 999 immediately
999 is the number to call in case of an emergency, and it is essential that it is called as soon as possible. The Ambulance Service will not know to send help until they are called.
2. Know your location
When you call for an ambulance, it is essential to know where you are and describe the location clearly to the person taking the emergency call. This helps the ambulance reach you quickly. Knowing nearby landmarks, street names or GPS coordinates helps.
3. Answer all questions
During a 999 call, many questions will be asked of the caller. These questions determine what team will be sent, to make sure that the patient gets the best possible care. It is very important that the caller stays on the line to provide the answers.
4. Follow all instructions
During a 999 call, the caller can do certain things to help the patient until the ambulance arrives, or to help the ambulance get to the patient, like waiting on the road to signal to the driver, or clearing the driveway of cars to allow the ambulance access to the house or compound. It is important that the caller follow any instructions carefully as this can help save a life.
5. Give way to ambulances on the road
When an ambulance is on its way to an accident, it will put on flashing lights and a siren to signal an emergency. To help the ambulance get to the patient quickly, the Ambulance Service is asking drivers to move and let the ambulance go past, even when the traffic lights are red.