Abu Dhabi: National Ambulance and Special Olympics UAE have rolled out the Automated External Defibrillators (AED) at clubs and centres for people of determination across the UAE to provide a safe training environment in line with the American Heart Association (AHA) and international safety standards.
The rollout is part of the third phase of the ‘Train Safely’ initiative, which, once fully implemented, will provide the highest level of safety and care for people of determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The roll out follows the completion of theoretical and practical Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED training coaches received from National Ambulance, covering all aspects of first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of AED, according to the AHA 2020 guidelines. The installation of the lifesaving devices follows specialised technical training delivered through National Ambulance’s AED Implementation Programme to ensure the coaches can manage and operate these devices in emergency situations such as heart attacks, as use of these devices can increase chances of survival and minimise complications for athletes.
‘A pioneering step’
The devices were presented during a ceremony that took place recently at Abu Dhabi Sports Council, in the presence of Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE; Ahmed Al Hajeri, CEO of National Ambulance; Abdulla AlWheibi, Clubs and Talent Director at Abu Dhabi Sports Council; Dr Ayman Ahmad, chief administrative and medical officer; and Professor Ahed Al Najjar, EMS education and research manager at National Ambulance, as well as Special Olympics UAE coaches and club representatives.
Al Hajeri said: “Special Olympics UAE’s commitment to equip their sports centres with lifesaving AED devices is a pioneering step that will undoubtedly contribute towards improving the infrastructure of these facilities and sports bodies for people of determination and raising the preparedness to [deal with] emergency situations.”
Lifesaving technologies and equipment
Al Hashemi said: “We really value the fruitful and constructive partnership we have built with National Ambulance, the winner of the local Golisano Award for Health Leadership for its support towards the health and safety of people of determination. Our cooperation began in 2019 and has developed significantly to better serve people of determination athletes. The development of our Sports Programs is subject to a sustainable vision focused on enhancing all aspects of sports sectors; including facilities, stadiums, professional and specialised skills and competencies, as well as lifesaving technologies and equipment. The more we can support their efforts the better the results will be, which reflects enormously on our nation’s objective to support people of determination.”
The third phase of the ‘Train Safely’ initiative includes providing AED equipment with the necessary technical training for coaches to operate them as part of emergency medical response, until ambulance crew arrive on site. Eight different locations are covered in this phase of the programme including, the Abu Dhabi Club for People of Determination, Al Ain Club for People of Determination, Al Dhafra Club for People of Determination, Dubai Club for People of Determination, Al Thiqa Club for the Disabled, Ras Al Khaimah Club for People of Determination, Khorfakkan Club for the Disabled, and Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. More clubs and centres for people of determination will be added in subsequent phases of the programme.
Knowledge and skills
The ‘Train Safely’ initiative provides a safe training environment for Athletes and people of determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities by empowering coaches with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide first aid when needed at clubs and centres for people of determination across the UAE.
The automated external defibrillator is used in case of symptoms of cardiac arrest, including loss of consciousness, cessation of normal breathing, no pulse or absence of any sign of circulatory activity. The user-friendly device contributes greatly to saving lives and minimising mortality rates. The electric device analyses heart rhythm, determining if an electric shock is needed based on this data.