Sun | Dec 5, 2021

KingAlarm to roll out ambulance service July 1

Published:Friday | April 16, 2021 | 12:09 AMJonielle Daley/Gleaner Writer

AmbuKing, an affiliate company of KingAlarm, will be offering ambulance services in partnership with a team of medical doctors who will be on call 24/7 to liaise with emergency medical personnel come July 1.

Managing Director of KingAlarm, John P. Azar, told The Gleaner that the company will be starting with six ambulances but will be making assessments based on the demand to determine whether to expand over time. The roll-out will service Kingston, Spanish Town, Portmore, Montego Bay and Falmouth.

They are currently recruiting 30 individuals to be trained and certified as medical technicians and dispatchers for the launch, in addition to security personnel already employed to KingAlarm. Just over 100 persons will be certified.

“This is a two-tier response system where if one of them (security personnel) is closer to a medical emergency they can at least go there, assess the situation, stabilise the situation while the ambulance is en route,” said Azar.

In addition to the certification of security personnel and medical doctors being on call round the clock, Azar said that AmbuKing aims to change the face of the ambulance system in Jamaica with the importation of more technologically advanced units.

This includes improved communication tools for customers and common centres, as well as first responders. The ambulance will be fitted to provide real-time access to their locations to ensure the closest unit is being dispatched to the site of the emergency.

These GPS personal tracking devices equipped with two-way voice communication will ensure that medical alert signals can be sent, monitored and responded to even when clients are away from their primary locations.

Though Azar declined to disclose the investment cost of the start-up, he said that no expense would be spared.

“In a monetary sense, of course, it is significant but when taking into account that we will be saving lives, the investment is certainly a worthwhile one,” he said.

President of the Jamaica Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, Basil Ferguson, said he welcomed investment in private emergency medical care “as long as these persons are trained and certified under the proper standards as emergency medical technicians”.

If it is an international company that will be providing the training, he is imploring the Ministry of Health and Wellness to verify that there is a common understanding where ideal national standards are met, covering the hours and topics with trainees passing above the mark to determine competency.

Locally, the University of Technology and The University of the West Indies, Mona, are the only two institutions that train and certify emergency medical technicians.

According to Ferguson, the concern lies with persons, such as taxi drivers or security guards, who will be trained as first responders to act according to training and certified practices at all times in the necessary event.

He noted that while some areas are extremely underserved, “government ambulances are oversubscribed”, generally.

jonielle.daley@gleanerjm.com