Abu Dhabi: Bus-based mobile hospitals play a key role in saving lives, officials from the Ambulance Section at the Emergency and Public Safety Department, Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, told Gulf News on Thursday.

There are seven of the mobile hospitals in use in the UAE - four in Abu Dhabi and three in Al Ain - Major Mohammad Al Ansari, Head of the Ambulance Section explained. Another is on display at the Abu Dhabi Medical Congress, he added.

The mobile hospitals, which cost Dh2 million each, are mainly used for transporting injured patients during emergencies such as the Ghantoot accident and the Khalidiyah fire, officials said.

"These mobile hospitals are vital for our department and due to their proven reliability in transporting patients we have recently purchased another five buses," Al Ansari said.

Each bus is equipped with 15 to 20 stretchers and various medical equipment, including oxygen masks, ventilators, an ECG, a spinal-support board and splints for treating broken bones for both children and adults.

Patients are assisted by two doctors and five paramedics on each bus.

Rashid Al Mansouri, Duty Officer at the Emergency and Public Safety Department was part of the rescue team during the tragic Ghantoot accident.

"The buses are beneficial in times of crisis because they can accommodate up to 20 patients. If cases are not critical, the buses can serve as mini-hospitals on site and treat the injured," he said.

During the Khalidiyah fire several individuals required oxygen masks, Al Mansouri explained.

"We didn't need to transport anyone to a hospital, but people did need oxygen, which is why we came in and parked the bus close to the fire," he said.

Another advantage of the buses is the speed with which patients can be treated.

"We can get to the scene of an emergency in less than 15 minutes. We have launched awareness campaigns to encourage people to be more considerate in times of emergency," the major added.

The Abu Dhabi police headquarters also manages flying ambulance and another 33 conventional ambulances across the emirate of Abu Dhabi.