Rising road fatalities: 108 Ambulances keep pace

Rising road fatalities: 108 Ambulances keep pace

In the past 10 years, 108 ambulances have responded to 1,74,832 police, fire and medical emergencies in Dakshina Kannada.

A report from Transport department’s Road Safety Cell revealed that though the number of accidents from 2011 to 2015 had remained the same (around 44,000 in the state), the number of deaths had increased from 8,971 in 2011 to 10,856 in 2015.

“In many accidents, victims meet with an untimely death as they do not receive first aid within the golden hour,” Emergency Medicine Specialist, KMC hospitals, Dr Jeedu Radhakrishnan emphasised. He highlighted the importance of ambulances and the role they play in saving lives. January 8 was observed as World Ambulance Day in Mangaluru city.

Not known to many, the ambulance services in Dakshina Kannada district was introduced in the early forties. In 1938, Mumbai (then Bombay) based philanthropist Kudpi Bhujanga Rao, in memory of his father, donated the first ambulance to district Wenlock hospital. Presently, there are about 50 ambulances owned by private operators.


The ‘108’ emergency response services were introduced in DK on November 8, 2008. The service had completed a decade. “Presently 28, 108 ambulances and two bike ambulances (in Mangaluru and Ullal) are operating in the district,” District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Ramakrishna Rao told DH.

“Today’s ambulances have advanced life support systems like ventilators and live streaming to ensure that no time is lost in treating trauma cases within the golden hour,” Dr Jeedu Radhakrishnan added.

First responders

KMC hospitals Regional Chief Operating Officer (COO) Saghir Siddiqui said KMC Hospital had launched the ‘You can save a life anywhere’ campaign to mark World Ambulance Day.

During the campaign, experts from KMC will train the public in life-saving techniques of CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

KMC also encourages the public to save lives by presenting certificates declaring them ‘first responders’.

Ambulance-service (108) operates across 4,559 sq km area of DK. In the last 10 years, (108)-ambulance-services responded to 1,74,832 police, fire and medical emergencies.

Medical emergencies (including pregnancy) attended to were 26,874. Trauma (accident) cases attended to were 35,266. “If not for these ambulances, fatal accidents would have been more,” GVK EMRI District-in-charge Manager Mahabala said.