“It was an eye opener” was how the volunteers, who were aboard the GVK EMRI 108 ambulance on Tuesday, described their experience. The dozen young volunteers, including some college students and IT professionals, had a hands-on experience of how an ambulance crew operates, and were completely in awe.

Rajesh Trivedi was waiting in the ambulance stationed in Ripon Building, when a call came from the EMRI control room instructing them to go to Park Station.

“A commuter had tripped and fallen when he tried to get into the train. Luckily, he fell into the train but sustained multiple fractures. Some college students called for help. They were agitated but the emergency technicians were calm and collected as they fixed the splint and transported him to the hospital,” Mr. Trivedi said. “It is a perspective change when you watch something through the eye of ambulance,” he concluded.

The opportunity offered Chirag Jain, the head of a disaster management committee at Indian Institute of Technology -Madras, the first-hand experience he needed to understand how to tackle emergencies.

Many of the volunteers had thought that accidents and hospitals meant “paperwork” leading to delays in treatment. For Manoj, the ride in the ambulance offered a ringside view of people’s behaviour. “I realised that people do not take ownership of the sick. They consider the ambulance just another transport vehicle,” he said.

The programme was organised by Alert, a non-governmental organisation formed on October 2, six years ago by Kala Balasundaram.

“Volunteers can enable people to understand our work better,” said B. Prabhudoss, regional manager at EMRI, the organisation that runs the 108 ambulances. “Our problem is that in casualty zones, the walking wounded get into the ambulance while the unconscious are left behind. Bystanders who understand our work would be a great help as they can not only manage crowds but also prevent vehicles haphazardly and allow us to do our work,” he said.

GVK EMRI’s chief operating officer B.N. Sridhar also participated in the programme.

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012

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