Sports cars to speed up paramedics response times to emergencies

Paramedics will soon be able to speed to the scene of traffic accidents and other emergencies in a high-powered sports car that can hit 260kph, dramatically reducing response times.

The Lotus Evora ambulance, here on display at the Gitex Technology Week at Dubai World Trade Centre, is capable of reaching speeds up to 260kph. Pawan Singh / The National
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DUBAI // Paramedics will soon be able to speed to the scene of traffic accidents and other emergencies in a high-powered sports car that can hit 260kph, dramatically reducing response times.

The two-seater Lotus Evora, named the First Responder, was unveiled at the Gitex Technology Week at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Sunday. The car is equipped with most of the same emergency and first-aid equipment that is carried in a regular ambulance.

“We can handle all kinds of emergencies,” said Zaid Al Mamari, a paramedic with the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services. “It is fitted with a responder bag, suction unit, foam splints for fractures, cardiac defibrillators and oxygen bags.”

The vehicle also carries a mobile data terminal to key in patient data and vital stats that can be transmitted to hospitals ahead of a regular ambulance arriving at the scene.

Two more Ford Mustangs will be added to the fleet of First Responder vehicles. Currently, the response time for a regular ambulance is eight minutes, but officials said the target time for all ambulances, including the sports car, was under four.

Mr Al Mamari said paramedics would be given training before driving the high powered cars.

“We plan to do special training since driving a sports car is not the same like driving regular cars. We will initially showcase the car in tourists places like the Jumeirah Beach Residences and Burj Khalifa. The second step is to start using them.”

He did not say when the cars would be in use on the emirate’s roads.

A number of government departments used the annual technology fare, launched by Sheikh Hamdan, Dubai’s Crown Prince, to showcase innovations. Among them was a “mobile court” from Abu Dhabi Courts for use by people with special needs and those living in far flung areas. The black, double decker pilot bus can also be used as a labour court to settle workers’ disputes.

“It is a unique initiative that has all the smart services to serve the community,” said Salah Khamis Al Junaibi, director of Institutional Communication and International Co-operation at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.

“It is for those unable to reach the courts like people with special needs, people in remote places and for labourers. If there are 5,000 workers, they can’t all come to the courts. Instead of having all of them in the court, we will go to their company.”

The top deck of the bus has been modified to resemble a small court room to seat three judges, lawyers and complainants. A small waiting room can accommodate another six people. Judges can also access case files using the electronic case management system.

The lower deck has a legal aid office, notary public and attestation office, public prosecution and Injaz service office, where people can file lawsuits or obtain copies of judgements.

Hearings would, however, happen only under special circumstances and only after due approvals are given. The bus would be initially used to create awareness of the court’s processes among school students and the general public.

Mr Al Junaibi did not reveal the costs of modifying the bus but said it had been expensive to tailor it to the UAE’s needs.

Also launched at Gitex was the Roads and Transport Authority’s Smart Drive mobile application that will give motorists real-time updates on traffic jams, accidents and diversions.

“If motorists download the app they will have accurate information on which roads are congested or if there is a detour,” said Abdulla Al Madani, RTA’s chief executive of Corporate Technical Support Services Sector.

“They can get immediate traffic updates using our GPS technology so as to avoid traffic accidents or other surprises and take alternative routes.”

The app, which is available on the Apple Store and Google Play, will rely on taxi feeds, CCTV footage, Dubai Police and public information.

Al Madani said censors would be installed on the service lane leading from the Crowne Plaza hotel to the Shangri-La Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road to notify motorists of available parking spots. The pilot project will be launched early next year before being introduced throughout the emirate. The RTA is also in talks with major malls to provide the same service.