Expo 2020 Dubai emergency centre to provide 'Olympic quality' care to visitors

Staff at the facility will provide vital support for millions of people set to attend the world fair next year

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Expo 2020 Dubai is putting safety first - with an 'Olympic' standard onsite emergency centre ready to cope with the demands of an expected 25 million visitors.

The centre, which has been fully operational since November, is kitted out with an isolation room, emergency care room and a helicopter pad.

Officials are confident that the state-of-the-art facility will be able to deal with any medical emergencies that might arise during the six-month-long world fair, which opens to the public on October 20, 2020.

Staff at the centre have had crucial preparation for the grand opening, as they have already been caring for the 40,000 construction workers helping the sprawling Expo site take shape.

“We have got all the necessary equipment and capabilities to deal with emergencies should they arise as well as a range of preventative measures,” said Dr Rob Cooling, vice president of health, safety and environment at Expo 2020 Dubai, during a tour of the venue.

“We are able to analyse the range of risks and deal with them accordingly.

“There are a lot of health related issues that come with people working outside in a hot environment, we have the most stringent standards in place to make sure we are able to provide support.”

The centre will play a key role in providing immediate care and stabilisation in the “golden hour” after treatment, referring to the vital first sixty minutes after an injury or illness when medical care is most effective.

There is also a fully operational helipad outside the centre, as well as the expo’s on-site ambulances to deal with any scenario.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - August 05, 2019: Tour of Expo2020Õs emergency aid centre. Monday the 5th of August 2019. Expo Site, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

During the event, it is expected that three doctors and five nurses from the emergency facility will move to Expo 2020's main operations centre.

Expo organisers expect to welcome thousands of visitors a day to the 4.38 sq km site in Dubai South.

Dr Cooling said the emergency care facility was on a par with, if not better than, those provided for similarly sized global gatherings.

“This is very much in line with facilities that are provided for events like World Cups and Olympics,” he said.

“We have a full time team here working 24/7 and we are able to deal with all sorts of emergencies.”

The facility has already been in full swing with the launch of a campaign aimed at improving the overall health of workers on the site.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - August 05, 2019: Dr Rob Cooling, VP health safety and environment Expo 2020. Tour of Expo2020Õs emergency aid centre. Monday the 5th of August 2019. Expo Site, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

“We have been running a campaign for the three months of summer, focusing on nutrition and health awareness and providing screenings,” he said.

“In the last few weeks nearly 500 workers have been going through health screening here, we are looking at blood sugar levels, dental checks, eye examinations and similar initiatives will continue right up until the end of the event.”

The centre will not cease to operate when the curtain falls on the world fair, as it will continue to provide care for the tens of thousands of construction workers who will be tasked with dismantling the site.

“We have signed an agreement with Dubai Health Authority that will take us right up until the end of 2021,” he said.

Mouayad Abdulghani, acting head of the Expo Emergency Centre, was full of praise for the care provisions on offer.

“You will find nothing else like it on any other construction site in the region,” he said.

The facility is also home to a triage room with three beds and a recovery room that has five beds.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - August 05, 2019: The Heli pad. Tour of Expo2020Õs emergency aid centre. Monday the 5th of August 2019. Expo Site, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The isolation room will be used to prevent the spread of any potentially infectious diseases.

The theme of Expo 2020 is “connecting minds, creating the future” and there are three subthemes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

It will be the largest event of its kind held in the Middle East region with 192 countries participating.