The wail that brought smiles to many

V.S. Palaniappan
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108 Ambulance enters its fifth year of service in Coimbatore

It is the sound that many dread to hear, but has brought smile to many an anxious face.

The ambulance services of GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), popularly known as 108, is entering its fifth year in Coimbatore district.

During 2008 when it was conceived, it saved 72 lives. In 2009, the number went up to 964, in 2010, 606 lives were saved, and in 2011, 785 lives.

This year till October, the ambulance service has saved 815 lives.The number of emergencies handled a month has gone up to 2,100 a month from 1,600, said H. Mohan, Regional Manager of EMRI. The focus now was on reducing the response time to less than ten minutes from the present 13 minutes in urban areas. In rural areas, the response time was 19 minutes and efforts were on to bring it down to 10 minutes, he added. With this in view, 10 more ambulances had been inducted. With this the total number of ambulances had gone up to 18 and efforts were on to increase it to 24. Coimbatore needed 31 ambulances to achieve the target of ‘one ambulace for one lakh’ concept, he said. Deliveries in ambulances had gone up from 38 in 2011 to 39 till October 31, this year. In 2010, 78 deliveries occurred in ambulances. Emergencies handled was 19,460 this year whereas it was 21,314 in 2011. Programmes to create awareness on ambulance facilities were conducted in 227 schools in the district and 57 colleges.

Ambulance drivers said that there was a noteworthy improvement in the attitude of motorists. They give way for the ambulance.

The major hurdle they face is traffic congestion and travelling on bad roads. Prank calls are the worst kind of nuisance for the service, they say. Sometimes they travel all the way through heavy traffic and bad roads to reach the spot only to understand that it was a prank call. What the pranksters do not understand is that, they are letting another needy person to die.

The 108 ambulance service is entering its fifth year in Coimbatore district




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