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Dubai Taxi drivers to get lessons in first aid

Ambulance service proposes to equip drivers of Dubai's 3,500 cabs with life-saving skills

Gulf News

Dubai: Don’t be alarmed if you soon see a taxi driver administering first aid — he’s a professional.

In a meeting earlier this month between Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS) and Dubai Taxi Corporation, authorities proposed to educate taxi drivers on first aid and resuscitation.

This is not the first venture launched by DCAS for staff working in various industries, they have previously offered first aid training to staff in Jumeirah Group and in several schools.

“What we’re doing is raising the level of awareness among the community. This proposal is part of our goal on raising the efficiency of first aid in the work place, and in this case, the taxi drivers happen to work on the road,” said Neil Kirby, operations director at DCAS.

In a recent report issued by DCAS for the first half of 2012, its ambulances responded to a total of 3,940 cases of people with heart problems and 538 cases of kidney failure, while 164 patients were deemed safe and were not in critical condition.

During the meeting, both parties expressed their interest in providing staff and taxi drivers with first aid training as part of their efforts’ to reduce the number of road traffic injuries.

It was further proposed that all taxi drivers will have to go through a first aid training programme and receive coaching on how to act in emergencies, in the event of accidents or injuries.

In the 88,076 cases that DCAS logged last year, Kirby said the number of hurdles while responding to a call was relatively small.
But, any delay can have a significant effect when it comes to saving a life.

Dubai Taxi Corporation, which is a subsidiary of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has approximately 3,504 vehicles working 24 hours a day, seven days a week on Dubai’s roads.

“We offered Dubai Taxi Corporation a variety of training courses, including the most important one that consists of CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] and training in the use of a defibrillator.

“We aim to have all taxi drivers learning the basic support tool of ECG on adults and children that records the electrical activity of the heart,” explained Dr Omar Saqqaf, director of technical support at DCAS.