The Saudi Red Crescent Society has announced plans to extend its ambulance services in Makkah Province, adding within a year four new emergency stations in the Jeddah area to the two recently set up along the Makkah Expressway. In addition, first moves were made yesterday for the purchase from France of an Aerospatiale Dauphine helicopter, a 13-seater that is used by search and rescue organizations worldwide. Equipped as an air-ambulance, and based in Jeddah, its 200-mile range could cover the needs of over four million people.
The Red Crescent’s aims are to reduce ambulance response time to eight minutes, lower the fatality rate of road accidents by 50 percent, and raise community awareness of emergency procedures. In the Jeddah area alone, there are over 2,000 emergency calls a month and they are on the increase. Over 60 percent of the calls are related to traffic accidents. This year, 1,000 trainees, ranging from traffic policemen to housewives and high-school students, have received the basics of first aid and elementary knowledge of emergency procedures. The plan is to train one thousand people each year for at least the next three years.