The Ambulance: A vehicle on a mission of mercy | Sunday Observer

The Ambulance: A vehicle on a mission of mercy

17 January, 2021
A horse-drawn ambulances used in the battlefields in the 19th century
A horse-drawn ambulances used in the battlefields in the 19th century

Sounding a high pitched siren and its horn a vehicle wades its way through the traffic in a mighty hurry and other vehicles make way for it. They can overtake other vehicles and drive past red traffic lights. Why is such a vehicle permitted to do so? It is because it is an ambulance – a vehicle on a life and death mission-transporting gravely sick or injured person to a hospital. Ambulances are generally manned by specially trained people called para-medics or Emergency Medical Technicians , (EMTs) nurses and sometimes even doctors. Ambulances are also used to transfer patients between hospitals.

Ambulances were first used in battlefields and they were carts drawn by horses. Seriously injured soldiers were taken to hospitals on the battlefields in these horse drawn ambulances. These hospitals were called ‘field hospitals’. Horse drawn ambulances became popular in Europe and North America in the 19th century when they started building more hospitals.

In the early 1800s, two wheeled , horse drawn carts were used by the French army to ferry wounded soldiers to hospitals on the battlefields. During the 1860s, public hospitals started getting their own horse-drawn ambulances. Much of the development in the ambulance took place during war time. A great change in ambulances came about in the early 1900’s when automobiles replaced the horse drawn carts. In 1899, the first motorised ambulance was built and airplanes were used as ambulances for the first time during World War I (1914–18). It was during the Korean War (1950–53) that helicopters were first used as ambulances.

Ambulances have special equipment enabling staff to give emergency medical aid to patients being taken to hospitals. The equipment include stretchers, medicine, oxygen cylinders, saline, heart monitors, splints and special collars to hold in place the necks of patients with spinal injuries. Equipment for emergency deliveries of babies are also carried by some ambulances.

Today, there are both state owned and privately owned ambulances. Organisations such as the Red Cross Society and the St. John Ambulance Brigade have their own ambulance service.

Suwaseriya Ambulance Service

The Government established this much needed and much valued service in 1990 with aid from the Government of India. Today, it services the whole nation. These ambulances can be called up by dialling 1990.

Some countries use airplanes or helicopters as ambulances. The ‘Flying Doctor Service ‘ in Australia is one of them. They are equipped in much the same way as vehicular ambulances. Air ambulances are used to reach people in distant places such as the Australian Outback. They are also used for quicker transportation to ground vehicles such as ambulances.