Ambulance abuses double that of 2007: statistics

Friday, January 23, 2009
Issue 594, Page 4
Word count: 417
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The number of ambulance abuse cases in 2008 stood at 704, more than double that the previous year the Fire Services Bureau had registered, official statistics showed yesterday.

Deputy chief fire officer, Fu Man Kai, said in most of the abuse cases people called for the emergency ambulance service when they were only having a “headache, abdominal pain or nosebleeds”.

The 2008 figures released at the bureau’s headquarters in Sai Van showed that their 31 ambulances were called out 27,886 times, a surge of 16.5 percent or 3,949 times over that of 2007.

“The growth represents our work load has been increasing and so does our pressure,” Fu said.

Of the 27,886 ambulance operations, 2.5 percent or 704 times were categorised as “misuse”, whilst in 2007 the number stood at 314 times or 1.3 percent.

“We’re very concerned about such kind of abuse and have been urging the public to call for the service only when it’s urgent,” Fu said.

“The worst situation is the caller refuses to receive instant care from paramedics at the scene but only wants us to transport them to the emergency ward directly,” he added.

In 2008, the fire brigade conducted a total of 30,834 operations across the territory, a jump of 15.6 percent when compared with 26,675 operations in 2007.

The two major types of operations were for fire outbreaks and rescuing people mainly in car accidents, industrial accidents or who were trapped in lifts.

Fu said the numbers of fire accidents registered in the last couple of years had been “steady” in Macau, thanks to the “cooperation of the public”.

In 2007 and 2008, respectively 1,041 and 1,064 outbreaks of fire were reported.

The deputy chief fire officer added that “burning garbage” accounted for a dominant part of the 1,064 fire accidents, followed by “charred food” and “residential fire”.

With regards to other kinds of rescue work that did not involve fire, the fire services were called out to provide assistance in 813 cases, a decrease of 27 over the previous year of 2007.

On the other hand, since the Lunar New Year is fast approaching, fire fighters will be on stand-by at various locations such as the A-Ma Temple, Kun Iam Temple and the special firecrackers discharge area in Nam Van.

The Fire Services Bureau conducted 63 fire drills and evacuation exercises in various organisations and establishments with a total of 18,154 participants last year.

The bureau also held 120 fire safety seminars which were attended by 9,712 people.

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