Bengaluru: India’s first air-ambulance service conducts real-time mock drill

Darshan Devaiah BP
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A real-time HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) drill conducted at Jakkur Aerodrome in Bengaluru on Thursday.

India’s first air-ambulance service conducted a real-time HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) drill at Jakkur Aerodrome in Bengaluru Thursday. The live drill involved an aero-medical rapid response by the International Critical Care Air Transfer Team (ICATT)’s HEMS team from Bengaluru to an accident site at Mandya District involving a mother and an infant.

The team flew by helicopter to the site in Mandya, where they demonstrated their rescue and resuscitation operations on site, stabilised the mother and infant, loaded them in the helicopter and immediately flew back to Bengaluru. They were received by Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, C N Ashwathanarayan at Jakkur Aerodrome, who inaugurated the mock drill. According to ICATT, the complete drill took place in real-time. “This is the first time in India that such a drill has been conducted where all the emergency services are simultaneously involved – police, fire, aviation, and medical services," said a release.

“Air Ambulance services in India will be a giant leap in Emergency Medical Services (EMS), air ambulance facilities will save many live," said Ashwathanarayan.

According to ICATT, HEMS entails a fully-equipped portable unit that can provide emergency Pre-Hospital Intensive Medical Care to accident victims along highways, semi-urban and rural areas and save their lives. It’s also equipped to provide more than first aid and medication, including advanced ICU equipment and monitoring devices, ventilator, CPR and surgical equipment as well as a team of doctors and nurses trained to treat injuries, trauma and medical emergencies carrying out life-saving interventions.

Speaking to, Dr Shalini Nilshad, co-founders of ICATT Air Ambulance Service said, “We conducted the drill within 30 minutes by reaching Mandya which is around 100 km from Bengaluru and getting back to the city with patients. We hope to bring down the number of casualties from road accidents in India by at least 50 per cent by the year 2022. Air-ambulance teams attending to accident victims are often seen in the USA, UK and other European countries where it’s a much evolved area of medical practice. I feel the service is just as imperative for India, where access to medical facilities is limited to developed regions. With ICATT’s service, we are about to change that."