The Ambulance Service at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has completed its preparations for the Eid holidays and is ready for assistance with 140 ambulances operating around the clock, pointed out Ali Darwish, assistant executive director, Ambulance Service at HMC.

Darwish told local Arabic daily Arrayah that the service is capable of increasing the number of vehicles at any time and to the maximum extent possible in case of increased demand.

He noted that the ambulance service has prepared its plan for the Eid al-Adha holidays, focusing on covering places of public gathering such as parks and beaches.

He explained that certain factors, such as national events or specific requests from various entities in the country, govern the increase in the number of ambulance vehicles coverage.

He added that particular areas are primarily focused during celebrations and holidays, including Imam Mohamed Ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque and Eid prayer grounds to cover the Eid prayers, as well as the Museum of Islamic Art Park, Katara, The Pearl, Souq Waqif, among other areas.

Darwish pointed out that the ambulance service pays particular attention to beach areas, especially with four-wheel-drive vehicles, at Al Ghariya, Simaisma, Sealine, Dukhan, and Al Wakrah family beaches to respond immediately to any drowning cases or transport patients from the beaches.

He pointed out that the 140 vehicles include ambulances with beds for patient transport and four-wheel-drive vehicles and service supervisors who respond to incident sites, in addition to rapid intervention vehicles for critical cases and air ambulances using helicopters to cover all areas outside Doha, offshore fields, and border crossings like Abu Samra. Further, bicycles are used in pedestrian-heavy areas where vehicle access is difficult, such as Souq Waqif, Hamad International Airport, Katara, and the Pearl, alongside golf carts.

He revealed that the ambulance service currently receives around 1,200 calls daily, including patient transport for medical appointments, especially for the elderly, from homes to hospitals and vice versa, as well as between hospitals for continued medical care. This service will continue without interruption during the Eid holidays, particularly for dialysis patients and other medical cases.

Darwish said that the most significant challenge in providing the services, is the caller's lack of awareness of their location, which hinders timely arrival, which is 10 minutes within Doha and 15 minutes in outer areas, a global standard that Qatar is unique in achieving. He affirmed that the distribution of vehicles across around 80 geographic points throughout the country is based on statistics and data compiled by the ambulance service at HMC to ensure vehicles are available in vital and strategic areas to reach incident sites in the shortest possible time.

Darwish advised parents to exercise caution with their children at beaches or even in swimming pools to protect them from drowning incidents. He also urged road users to cooperate with ambulances by making way for them.

He explained that the community awareness campaign about the ambulance service has produced positive outcomes, as calls to the service now are mostly about serious cases, and the proportion of minor cases, which previously accounted for 20% of daily calls, has significantly dropped.

He noted that the vast majority of drivers do co-operate with the ambulance service by giving way to ambulances, even if it results in a traffic violation for the private vehicle driver. The ambulance service collaborates with the Traffic Department to cancel such violations through reports issued by the ambulance service confirming the presence of an ambulance at the traffic violation site and that the private vehicle driver was indeed co-operating with the ambulance.

He said that anyone who receives a traffic violation due to co-operating with an ambulance should report the violation to the ambulance department, which then issues an official letter to the Traffic Department verifying the incident.
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