Dubai ambulances look to improve response times for emergencies
DUBAI // Ambulance crews in Dubai are ready to respond to any crisis – but improvements are being made to reduce response times when called to treat patients suffering from a stroke or cardiac arrest.
Details of how Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS) will look to the future emerged as an international conference on ambulance services to be staged in the city next year was announced.
The Dubai International Ambulance Conference will be held in conjunction with the International Emergency and Catastrophe Management Conference and Exhibition from March 21 to 23 at the World Trade Centre.
It will focus on issues faced during emergencies through new practices, methodologies and case studies discussed by experts in the field.
On ambulance improvements, Dr Omar Al Sakaf, director of medical and technical affairs at DCAS, said: “We will be looking to tackle two important areas – stroke management and cardiac arrest – as well as how our medical teams can deal with different crises management.
“The aim is to reduce the response time to within four minutes, and new ambulances specifically for stroke management will be aiming for that.”
Ambulance operations came under the spotlight this month with a report of paramedics struggling to locate a patient’s home in Jumeirah Village Triangle because of poor road signage.
“We have made contact with the RTA and have had discussions to improve the navigation and tracking capabilities of our ambulances,” Dr Al Sakaf said.
“The system will also be able to manage our assets, to ensure we have the right medical crews attending the right incidents. It is not reliant on road signs.
“Our crews are ready and available 24/7 to respond and deal with any crisis.”
Dr Victor Butros, head of Rashid Hospital’s emergency department trauma centre, said immediate treatment for stroke and cardiac arrest can greatly improve chances of recovery.
“We need medics to start with the specialist medical treatment immediately,” he said.
“This requires trained and qualified personnel. If it is a cardiac incident, medics need to be sure if it is a myocardial infarction [heart attack], or if an electrocardiogram or quick blood test can be done.
“You have to start with a specific medication and prepare a cardiac check list, which can take time. If that can be done on the way to hospital, it could be very important and save time.
“It is the same with a stroke. We need qualified people to recognise the signs and symptoms, and who can do the procedure to remove a clot, if necessary. We do have specialist teams, but there are not enough.”
Dr Butros said that increased public awareness of the signs and symptoms of stroke and cardiac arrest would also help paramedics to respond in the right way.
Meanwhile, next year’s conference will host an impressive line-up of notable speakers, experts, specialists, doctors and paramedics from around the world.
The three-day event will feature at least 300 lecturers representing international emergency medical service institutions and associations.
It is hoped the event in March will unite experts from emergency medicine to help develop better practices and adopt positive solutions.
Now in its 11th year, the IECM conference and exhibition has a solid track record of encouraging partnerships between associations working in development, relief and humanitarian fields to obtain quick responses during emergencies and catastrophes.
Dr Abdul Salam Al Madani, executive chairman of the conference, said: “We believe hosting the two events at the same time will benefit the emergency, catastrophe and ambulance services in the region, as it will host a good number of specialists from all over the world.”