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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

“Call ‘108’ and save a life”

“Call ‘108’ and save a life”
Staff Reporter
An ambulance will reach the spot in 15 to 20 minutes
— Photo: A. Shaikmohideen 

Important trip: Technicians attached to the Emergency Management Research Institute demonstrating the equipment on the Tirunelveli Collectorate premises on Monday.
TIRUNELVELI: Whenever you happen to see the accident victims battling for life, patients suffering severe chest pain or the pregnant women screaming for help, just dial the toll-free ‘108’. An adequately equipped ambulance with a technically qualified person, being managed by Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI), will reach the spot within the next 15 to 20 minutes to rush the sufferer to the nearby hospital.
A non-profit organisation, EMRI, founded in 2005 with the objective of providing Emergency Response Service to save the victims, is now operational in eight States, covering a population of over 366 million and responding to 7,500-odd emergency calls with more than 1,400 ambulances.
“While we reach the victims within 14 minutes in the urban areas, the duration is 21 minutes in the rural areas. We’ve so far saved more than 50,000 lives across the country by taking them to the hospital within the ‘golden hour.’ It is a free service and hence the public can make use of it at anytime round-the-clock,” said S.G.S. Lakshmanan, Regional Manager, EMRI, after demonstrating functioning of the equipments installed in one of the ambulances, here on Monday.
As the caller dial ‘108’, the EMRI’s Emergency Response Centre based at Government Kasturiba Hospital, Chepauk, Chennai will receive the call and forward it to the ambulance concerned so that the vehicle will reach the victim within 15 to 20 minutes.
“If the person attending the call cannot correctly get the landmarks near the accident site, he will directly put on the caller to the nearest EMRI ambulance driver so that the problem of identifying the spot will be sorted out within a few seconds,” Mr. Lakshmanan said.
After the Government of Tamil Nadu, under the aegis of Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with EMRI in May 2008 to operate ‘Emergency Response Service’ in the State, 13 well-equipped ambulances with trained persons have been stationed at important places including Tirunelveli City, Vasudevanallur, Tenkasi, Alangulam, Nanguneri, Thisaiyanvilai, Valliyoor, Kadayam, Cheranmahadevi across the district since February 2009.
“Of this, two vehicles are ‘Advanced Life Supporting’ vehicles. While one of these two ALS ambulances is stationed at Tirunelveli City, another one is based at Tenkasi,” said District Manager, Tirunelveli EMRI, R. Sriram.

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