Responding to the calls from women in labour is not an extraordinary task for the Emergency Management Technicians (EMTs) of the 108 Emergency Management ambulance services in the district. Most of the time, the ambulance crew will have enough time to get the women to the nearest hospitals.

On January 10, when technician Murugan responded to such a call, he and his crew members thought it would be a routine one. He was wrong.

On arriving at the scene, the crew found the woman in labour with contractions. “Soon after we were on our way to the hospital, her labour accelerated. We thought that the woman would not make it to the hospital. So we parked the ambulance on the roadside. We were very nervous, as it was the first time our crew was going to handle a delivery on the ambulance,” Murugan said. But things went on smoothly. “We still remember the woman profusely thanking all us with her hands folded, crying,” he recalled.

Like this incident, the 108 emergency services in Erode district has helped more than 74 women in labour to deliver in the ambulance itself. The service has transported over 4,500 expectant mothers to hospitals so far. “We also handle other types of emergencies. But in the case of expectant mothers, we take more care,” officials said.

The ambulance services is one of the lauded government programmes in the district. The service had responded to over 21,000 emergencies in Erode ever since its launch in February 2009. The service had so far saved the lives of many accident victims, those suffering from cardiac problems, and persons in other emergencies, District Collector, T. Soundiah said. The emergency service operate 14 ambulances from parts of Erode district. The state-of-the-art facility comes with GIS and GPS systems to help locate the geographical position of the emergency call and guide the nearest ambulance reach the emergency site in the shortest possible time. “We ensure excellent coordination among the emergency response teams,” Mr. Soundiah said.

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