Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Ambulance Service launches four new Toyota Land Cruiser GX vehicles for working in the desert. 

Hamad Medical Corporation

The new 4x4s have been operational since the start of the winter camping season. They are primarily used to transport injured people from the area of sand dunes to the nearest tarmac road where they will be met by one of the Mercedes Sprint ambulances. In serious cases, the 4×4 unit can also prepare a landing site for LifeFlight, the Ambulance Service’s helicopter.

Hamad air ambulance
LifeFlight: The Ambulance Service’s helicopter

The 4X4s are stationed at the Ambulance Service’s bases in Sealine and Al Udeid. This means they are rapid responders and are equipped to provide the essential emergency medical care needed when there is an accident in the desert.

4x4 ambulance
4×4 Toyota vehicles

Rashid Andaila, Public Relations Manager for the Ambulance Service said:

Often the emergencies in the desert can be a serious trauma where every second counts. This is why the 4×4 vehicles are so important. They can get to the scene quickly and safely and then arrange for the patient to be transferred to the National Trauma Center located at Hamad General Hospital.’

Quick facts:

  • The Trauma Center receives and evaluates more than 5,300 trauma and injured patients each year, of which more than 3,000 are admitted to the hospital for definitive care.
  • The Ambulance Service aim to respond (be at the scene) in less than 10 minutes in urban areas and in less than 20 minutes in rural areas.
  • The Ambulance Service receive a minimum of 100 calls per month. The calls increase by 10% every year.
  • The Ambulance Service receives a minimum of 4-5 ATV (buggy) calls from the desert on weekends.
  • The Ambulance Service are 70-80% on time when responding to an accident.
  • The LifeFlight helicopters are available only from 6 am to midnight.
  • HMC will launch three new LifeFlight helicopters fit up to two patients.
4x4 hamad ambulance
4×4 Toyota vehicles

Dr Robert Campbell Owen, CEO of the Ambulance Service said:

Each winter during the camping season, we see significant numbers of injuries from desert activities. This is improving thanks to the work the Ministry of Environment has done to change the road to Sealine, so it is no longer possible to drive onto the road at any point; instead vehicles can only join the road at a point where it is safe to do so. However, we do still see a large amount of trauma from accidents in this area. The Ambulance Service aims to continuously evolve our service to meet the needs of our community, and the introduction of these new vehicles is a testament to that and our commitment to saving lives.’

What you should know when sand duning in any of Qatar’s deserts:

The Ambulance Service is currently running a campaign, Help Us Help You, in which they would like the public to remember these five key points to help them save lives:

  1. Dial 999 immediately in a medical emergency.
  2. Know your location, so the ambulance can find you easily.
  3. Answer all questions on the call so the ambulance knows what support you need.
  4. Follow all instructions given by the emergency call handler, it may help save a life.
  5. Give way to ambulances on the road.