Cycle medics: Cure for traffic-clogged roads?

by Shveta Pathak, Staff Reporter, Gulf News.com
Published: 21:47 February 26, 2014

Dubai: To save precious seconds lost to traffic jams on the roads, the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS) is increasingly relying on medics on bicycles who can reach victims much faster.

The service is in operation along with DCAS’ vans, motorbikes and ambulances for patients in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) and for special events like the Global Village.

The DCAS medics on cycles have attended to 232 cases since the service was launched in January 2013.

Quick response
Last summer the biker medics’ quick response saved the life of a Dubai resident, Wendy, who nearly drowned during an open beach outing near JBR. Although her friends managed to get her out of the water she needed medical assistance urgently. But on a busy evening in JBR, chances of an ambulance reaching her fast were next to none.

“It was 9pm and the area was congested and traffic was moving slowly. But on our bicycles, we manoeuvred our way through the cars, jumped on the sidewalks and reached her in about two minutes,” Tommy, a medic with DCAS, told XPRESS.

“We had to make sure the oxygen supply to the brain did not stop. We gave her oxygen the moment we arrived and made sure her condition did not deteriorate until the ambulance arrived.”

Joel, another biker medic, added: “We are able to get on to stairs, move between cars and in many cases we have even reached the patients in less than a minute.”

Response time is a crucial factor when it comes to emergency medical assistance. Earlier, the DCAS introduced motorbikes to attain a faster response time in traffic intensive areas such as Raffa near Dubai Creek.

“We are looking to include more areas where we can have biker medics. Once they arrive, they are able to handle the situation till the ambulance arrives and many times, the emergency care they provide is sufficient and we do not need to send the ambulance,” Neil Kirby, Director Operations of DCAS, said.

The specially trained staff on cycles carry with them responder bags containing items like bandages, cotton, gloves as well as oxygen cylinder, mask and syringes.

The DCAS has six bicycles and a total of 68 ambulance stations. The target response time for an ambulance to reach the patient is eight minutes and Kirby said DCAS is able to attain this target in 60 per cent of the cases.

Ambulance at your service:
An average of 400-450 people call for ambulance services in Dubai every day
Thursday is the busiest day and 11pm the busiest hour for ambulance services
Of the total calls, around four per cent of cases are life-threatening while nearly 20 per cent fall under the ‘serious’ category.

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