Staff Reporter

New ambulance service flooded with hoax calls, requests for trivial purposes.

Thiruvananthapuram: The 25 ambulances with advanced life support systems (Dial 108), put on the road under the Kerala Emergency Medical Services Project (KEMP), has played a key role in saving many lives in the few days since it was launched.

However, despite the KEMP authorities making it clear that the ambulances will attend to health emergencies and accidents only, the call centre has been having a tough time handling hoax calls, calls by police asking to shift bodies from accident spots and even requests to remove people in inebriated condition from waysides. The ambulances, fitted with advanced life support and emergency medical care facilities, are essentially meant to respond to life-threatening or health emergencies only.

These include road and fire accidents, snake bites, suicide attempts, heart attacks, stroke, fractures to senior citizens, pregnancy-related complications, sudden loss of consciousness and injuries inflicted during assaults.

“We have had a few calls from people trying to find out if this service is for real or if it will respond promptly. The police too pressure us to remove bodies from accident spots and to transport people in drunken condition from bars. Even though all ambulances are parked in hospital compounds, it is not meant for hospital use, unless it is to shift someone requiring emergency care to a tertiary care centre. All calls will have to be routed through the call centre itself,” a KEMP official said.

KEMP officials appealed to the public that sufficient time be given to the ambulance to reach the spot. The caller will be informed of the expected time by the call centre.

Also, once the ambulance has been called, people should desist from making other arrangements, KEMP appealed.

Clear directions should be given to the call centre. When removing victims from accident spot, the public should listen to the advice of the emergency management technician in the ambulance as handling road victims in an unscientific manner can cause more trauma to the victims.