Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dial 108 for help in 20 minutes

At Bangalore Dial 108 for help in 20 minutes

Former president A P J Abdul Kalam with Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa flagging off the 108 Emergency Response Services in Karnataka, in Bangalore.Express News Service First Published : 02 Nov 2008 05:21:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 04 Nov 2008 10:21:04 AM ISTBANGALORE: Henceforth, you need not grope in the dark for help in case of emergencies like road mishaps and fire accidents. All you have to do is dial 108, a toll-free number to get ambulance services within 20 minutes at the disaster spot.

The state government, in partnership with Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), a not-for-profit organisation from Hyderabad, has launched a 24-hour free emergency response service -Arogya Kavacha - to help people in emergency, be it medical, police or fire-related. People can dial 108 without any prefix or suffix from any phone (landline or mobile) and seek help.

As many as 66 state-of-the-art ambulances, fully equipped to handle any kind of emergency, have been pressed into service and these ambulances will operate in five districts __ Bangalore, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Davanagere and Bellary.

The number of ambulances will be increased to 150 by March and the service will be extended to all 29 districts by 2010 with 517 ambulances, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said after launching the scheme at the Vidhana Soudha on Saturday. “We want to have one ambulance for every 50,000 people,” he said. Former president A P J Abdul Kalam, who is Chairman Emeritus of EMRI, said that EMRI had been doing a wonderful job in saving lives during emergency.

EMRI, which provides emergency services in Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, has so far saved over 45,000 lives and it plans to save over a million lives by 2010, Kalam said expressing happiness over the launch of the scheme in Karnataka.

EMRI CEO Venkat Changavalli, Ministers B Sriramulu, Janardhan Reddy, Karunakar Reddy, Ramachandra Gowda and Katta Subramanya Naidu and Chairman of Satyam Computers and founder of EMRI B Ramalinga Raju were present on the occasion.


People can call 108 from any phone (landline or mobile)

Call lands at the Emergency Response Centre (ERC ), and the caller should give information on the type of emergency, location and landmark, if any

Based on the information, ERC will despatch either ambulance, fire fighters or police depending on the type of emergency

Help will reach in 20 minutes in cities and 30 minutes in rural areas

Medical technicians and physicians will provide pre-hospital care while transporting the victim in the ambulance to the nearest hospital.

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