Posted on May 07, 2018

Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Ambulance Service has today relaunched its ‘Know the 5 to save a life’ national awareness campaign, aimed at educating the public about the key actions to take when calling an ambulance in an emergency situation.

The campaign previously ran in 2013 and is being rerun to highlight the importance of understanding how to use the service. As Dr. Robert Owen, Chief Executive Officer of HMC's Ambulance Service explained: “Qatar’s population has grown significantly since 2013 and this has led to increased demand on our Ambulance Service. By re-running this campaign, we aim to reinforce the key messages to those residents who were here in 2013 and also to educate new residents.” “Each year we receive more than 250,000 calls to the Ambulance Service and many of these are requesting emergency support for life-threatening incidents. In order for us to be able to provide the best possible support as quickly as possible, it is vital that members of the public follow the campaign’s five key steps,” Dr. Owen added.

HMC’s Ambulance Service 2 [].jpgThe campaign’s ‘Know the 5 to save a life’ messages are:

  • Dial 999 immediately
  • Know your location
  • Answer all questions asked
  • Follow all instructions given
  • Give way to ambulances on roadways

Explaining the campaign’s key messages, Mr. Brendon Morris, Executive Director of the Ambulance Service, said: “Time is a critical factor when it comes to responding to medical emergencies, and it is therefore important that people dial 999 immediately so that we can send our teams to help as quickly as possible.” Before sending a response team the ambulance dispatcher must first know where to send them, so it is essential that people know their location and are able to quickly and accurately describe this. Mr. Morris explained, “When at home, the easiest way to give your location is to provide the details on the building number plate, which is usually fixed to the exterior of the building. Other ways to provide an accurate location are street names or prominent landmarks.”

During the 999 call, the ambulance dispatcher needs to gain a clear understanding of the emergency so that the correct response team can be sent. The Ambulance Service has a diverse fleet of specialist response units which are able to respond quickly and effectively to a wide range of incidents in various locations. “In recent years we have expanded and strengthened our ambulance fleet. We now have significantly more ambulances to cope with the increased demand as well as a broader range of specialized vehicles. For example, since 2013 we have introduced three new LifeFlight air ambulances, customized intensive care ambulances and a fleet of rural ambulances, specifically designed to respond to incidents in the most rural parts of Qatar,” added Mr. Morris.

HMC’s Ambulance Service 3 [].jpg

It is important that the caller stays on the line even after the most appropriate response team has been sent and that they follow the instructions of the ambulance dispatcher, explained Mr. Ali Darwish, Assistant Executive Director of the Ambulance Service. “Our response teams will get to the patient as quickly as possible, but there may be things that the caller can do to help the patient before the teams arrive. For this reason, it is important that the caller answers all the dispatcher’s questions and follows their instructions,” he said.

The final message of the ‘Know the 5 to save a life’ campaign stresses the importance of drivers giving way to ambulances on the road. “When an ambulance is on its way to an emergency incident it will have its flashing lights and siren on. When drivers see an ambulance approaching in their rear view mirror, or from the side, they should move over to the side of the road to let the ambulance pass. Every second counts in the most serious medical emergencies and we are asking drivers to help our ambulances pass through traffic as quickly as possible,” stated Mr. Darwish. 

The campaign messaging will be promoted over the coming months via a range of channels, including social media, newspapers, roadside advertising, and in shopping malls.