Only if you know CPR, help in an emergency: Dubai Police
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On factor that deters people in Dubai from stepping in to help strangers in emergencies, is fear of police consequences, if the victim dies.
Often people will wait and watch, even as crucial minutes tick away, till the ambulance and the police arrive at the scene.
Online expat forums do little to encourage people to get involved. One local website stated: “In the UAE, if someone dies after a traffic accident, or drowns, or is in another situation that results in what appears to be accidental death, expat urban legends are that the police will take in the last person to have contact with the person to determine whether or not they could be held responsible for the death.”
This, however, is disputed by Lt. Colonel Ahmed Al Marri, Criminal Investigation Chief at Dubai Police.
“We encourage only those, who are qualified to carry out CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation), to help out till the ambulance reaches the spot.
“No action will be taken against them, even if the victim dies, because they are certified to do CPR,” he elaborated.
“If there is no one who is certified to do it, then they should wait till the ambulance arrives. They should not try to administer CPR if they don’t know how to, as this could endanger the victim.”
The need to equip oneself with emergency first-aid techniques surfaced after a nine-year-old boy recently drowned in a Bur Dubai building swimming pool after it as alleged the guardians failed to administer CPR on time.
In fact, the Gold Souk building watchman, who doubled up as a lifeguard, was not even present when the tragedy occurred.
The children’s pool-side birthday party had gone horribly wrong when Boney Junior was struggling to stay afloat. “If someone knew how to administer CPR, correctly, they could’ve saved him,” asserted a resident of the same building, who wished not to be named.
Al Marri asserted that every residential building pool must have a lifeguard stationed at all times, failing which the Dubai municipality will levy a fine of Dh3,000.
The tragedy threw focus on how it is imperative that everyone must learn basic safety techniques, especially when they are monitoring children in the pools.
“I know how to swim, but I don’t know how to do the CPR.
“As a mother of a toddler, I think it’s important for everyone to learn the safety techniques,” added Nidhi, a Bur Dubai resident.
An agent, who works in a Dubai-based company that trains corporate clients in first-aid courses, highlighted the importance of learning the basics.
“It’s important that caretakers, teachers and parents know what to do during a crisis. It’s those crucial few minutes that are important,” he detailed.
CPR training: Where and how
In Dubai, the Cedars Jebel Ali International Hospital offers a day-long training in safety and first-aid that is authorised by the American Heart Association (AHA).
“In cases of drowning, the first few minutes are crucial.
“We have to revive the victim, and if we wait it out then it could result in death,” stressed Bienvenido, an instructor for the programme, which teaches first-aid and CPR.
Only those who complete the course successfully will be given a provider card issued by the AHA.
“This is proof that they are qualified to give first-aid during emergencies,” he added. “Not everyone who takes the course gets it. Only those who show the ability, competency and skills are presented the card.”
He explained how the CPR is different for adults and children. “The three main differences are: the terms/depth of compressions, intensity of blowing air, and the use of hands (for adults you use two and for kids only one).” But, before administering any safety techniques, he advised the residents to first dial 999.
Another similar course in CPR is held in Sharjah by Achamma Baiju John, American Heart Association BLS Instructor and Physiotherapist. “The 3-hour course on steps of CPR is a video-based session and a practical class with mannequins,” she described, adding it costs Dh150 and includes the manual from the American Heart Association which can be used for future references.
What is CPR
CPR is a combination of chest compressions and rescue breathing that can help restore circulation of oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
If oxygen is cut-out and not restored, it can result in permanent brain damage or death in less than 8 minutes.
CPR might be necessary in many different situations like accidents, near-drowning, suffocation, poisoning, smoke inhalation, electrocution injuries and suspected sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Even though reading about CPR can give you a basic understanding of the concept, it's recommended that residents enrol for a course that details on how to perform CPR.
According to experts, a CPR should be administered only after checking the following parameters. “It should be given only if the child is not breathing, there’s no pulse and he/she is unconscious,” explained a safety expert.