Visitor at the exhibition trying the ambulance simulator Photo Credit: Supplied Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: An interactive ambulance simulator used for training emergency medical technicians (EMTs) was displayed at the Ministry of Interior Innovation Exhibition held at Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi.

The simulator, a four-dimensional model, is designed to provide paramedical trainees with a virtual reality platform on driving an ambulance safely, while responding to medical and traffic accident emergencies.

The simulator has two different siren tones, the louder siren used on longer roads and highways and the lower siren used in congested areas, to tell road users to give way to the ambulance.

Gulf News spoke to the trainer at the National Ambulance on the training provided to EMTs.

“The EMTs are currently trained on the simulator for about two weeks, prior to their field work,” said Richard Quinlan, educational manager at National Ambulance. ”This is a safer assessment tool for them to get familiar with driving an ambulance in real time, rather than risking other people’s lives on the roads while training on driving an [real] ambulance. It’s important that EMTs have the necessary skill to drive an ambulance safely when responding to emergency calls.” The selection process of potential candidates is based on a set of trainings and qualifications.

“A clinical educator from the clinical educational department travels to the Philippines and selects the batch. Our new batch of 400 to 600 EMTs include men and women of all ages, with a nursing background, Quinlan explained. “After being trained on the simulator, EMTs will work on a 12-hour shift per day, four days in a row and then take four days off. However, there’s a one-month probation period, in which new EMT trainees will not be permitted to deal with emergency calls; their accompanying partners are more experienced and would intervene in emergency cases,” he added.

Current EMTs at National Ambulance will receive training on the simulator, once the new batch has been fully trained.

EMT work partners Kamille Asilo and Marilou Agayam said that they appreciate doing field work in rescue and emergency operations.

“I had worked as an EMT for three years in the Philippines, but I didn’t like driving an ambulance there. When I arrived in the UAE, I was retrained and have been working as an EMT for almost three years. At first, I was nervous having to drive the ambulance, because it was heavy, unlike driving a regular vehicle, so I had to be very cautious. I’m very appreciative of the work I do in helping people,” Asilo said.

Asilo’s work partner Agayam said, “Kamille and I have been work partners for the past year, and we accompany each other on rescue and emergency operations, but I prefer being with patients in the back, while she drives the ambulance. I’m currently training on the simulator to be able to drive an ambulance. I’ve also worked as an EMT for two years in the Philippines.”

National Ambulance operates in Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates, with their training facility located in Mussafah.