‘Help us help you,’ say ambulance chiefs who want to cut reckless driving at accident sites
ABU DHABI // The leaders of ambulance services have urged motorists to “help us to help you” by not obstructing the life-saving efforts of emergency staff.
They want motorists to give way to ambulances, not slow down to observe the scene of an accident, and not to use the hard shoulder to evade traffic jams.
The call came as the National Ambulance launched the first of a three-part educational video campaign to show how motorists’ behaviour on the road can delay emergency workers from responding to an accident.
“Every second counts when we are dealing with an emergency,” said Ahmed Al Hajeri, deputy chief executive of National Ambulance.
“It is vital that our staff reach the patient and start the treatment process as quickly as possible.
“Imagine it was your loved one that needed our help. You would want it to be as fast as it could be.
“So by assisting us in saving time, you are saving lives and saving the community.”
The first road-safety video under the Ready and Responsible campaign, which will be shown before films at Vox Cinemas, aims to highlight the ways that motorists can help ambulance drivers.
Tim S, from the National Ambulance communications centre, said motorists who misuse the hard shoulder was one of the biggest frustrations for frontline staff.
“The hard shoulder is our only access to accident scenes. So if someone is using the hard shoulder, they have now stopped the ambulance driver from getting to the scene of the accident,” he said.
“As far as driving close to the ambulance or behind it, people will use that so they can get through traffic faster.
“If you are following behind us and we have to rapidly slam on our brakes because somebody cuts in front of us or slams on their brakes, then they crash into the ambulance.”
He said such behaviour was common on the roads in the Northern Emirates, adding that some motorists did not let ambulances pass them because they were using their mobile phones. “The key message is to stay clear of the ambulance – give them plenty of room and give them the right of way,” he said.
Robert Ball, the chief executive of National Ambulance, said emergency vehicles were often forced to slow down by distracted or inconsiderate drivers.
“In many cases disobeying the advice has led to people being fined and other actions being taken,” he said.
“On a weekly basis our staff encounter these types of incidents. It delays our response and can cause other accidents and, in some cases, the actions are illegal.”
Mr Al Hajeri said two more videos would be released next month.
They are intended to raise public awareness of the most effective way to use the emergency ambulance service.
They will cover the responsible use of the 998 number and app and what callers need to know about dealing with an emergency situation.
“The three videos contain very practical tips on actions everybody and anybody should take,” said Mr Al Hajeri. “I would urge everyone in the community to watch the films and be prepared to act when needed.”
Updated: October 7, 2016 04:00 AM