Fewer than 10 per cent of medical emergency volunteers nationwide qualify under new standards that will take effect in the middle of next year.
National Legislative Assembly (NLA) vice president Surachai Liengboonlertchai revealed that statistic yesterday as he was speaking in his capacity as chair of the NLA committee on emergency response days ahead of the “seven dangerous days” associated with traffic hazards during New Year celebrations.
Authorities have designated the seven days as dangerous for the festive season as millions of people hit the road resulting in a spike in road accidents and casualties.
“We are preparing staff to respond to medical emergencies during the upcoming period,” Surachai said.
He added that necessary equipment was also being prepared, including automated external defibrillators at 10 major airports, various BTS and MRT stations, and bus stations.
The standards mentioned by Surachai refer to an announcement issued by the National Institute of Emergency Medicine (NIEMS) on November 15, which was due to take effect 180 days later.
Under the new rule, medical emergency responders must have completed at least 40 hours of training – not just 24 hours. Additional training is also necessary for medical rescuers who wish to renew their three-year licences.
The new rule also specified new colours associated with medical emergency vehicles.
NIEMS secretary-general Dr Atchariya Pangma said earlier this year that the new rule would raise standards for medical emergency responders.
Units providing help in events of medical emergencies can continue with their operations, but new units established after the announcement of the new rule will have to comply with the new stipulations.
Atchariya added that although the new colour for medical emergency vehicles would be lemon yellow, vehicles already used in medical emergencies did not need to be repainted.
“But if they are interested, they can just plaster their vehicle with lemon-hued stickers,” he added. Atchariya dismissed concerns that the new rule might have hampered charitable foundations’ efforts to help people.
“The new rule will not restrict efforts to save lives in any way, because even ordinary people can provide first aid to those in need,” he said.
There are now more than 10,000 units responding to medical emergencies across the country, Atchariya said, including about 39,470 medical volunteers as well as state officials.
Special Branch Police Division 3 commander Pol Maj-General Ekarak Limsangkas said yesterday that he had ordered that all motorists involved in accidents be subjected to blood alcohol tests.
“They will face charges of drunk driving, if their blood alcohol level is above legal limits,” he said. “If they are drunk driving, insurance firms will not provide coverage for damage and casualties. They will have to take full responsibility.”
He added that blood alcohol content could be checked at hospitals if motorists are hospitalised.
(Source:-The Nation, Thailand)