When and elderly woman passed out after a wooden column fell on her during the immersion procession near Shanipar, she was one of the several to be treated by the bike ambulance in the city on Wednesday. Due to the large crowds present, the four-wheeler ambulance was having trouble reaching her, following which a message was relayed to the new two-wheeler messiahs who reached the spot within minutes and provided her medical treatment.
Thanks to the Pune Regional Transport Office, which in its first experimental initiative used the bike ambulances to treat medical emergencies during the imeersion procession, the woman was back on her feet. Inspired by the Uttarakhand rescue operation, 15 medically armed bikes with as many as 36 doctors were seen helping devotees in need of medical emergencies during the immersion process. “Our main motive behind using these bikes was to reach any corner of the immersion routes of Laxmi Road, Tilak Road, and Alka Chowk, which is chock-a-block with devotees. Four-wheeler ambulances have a tough time making their way through the crowds,” said Anand Valwi, deputy RTO officer.
Prior to the festival, RTO assembled more than 400 city bikers and formed a group, naming it ‘Street Sense’ to spread awareness among the citizens regarding various traffic related issues. “We didn’t want to limit ourselves only with spreading traffic awareness and therefore we planned to provide emergency medical services through the bike ambulance to the needy during the immersion procession,” added Valwi.
According to Dr Shamsundar Jagtap, who was heading the team of these 36 doctors, they tended to as many as 20 emergency cases and provided immediate relief to the patients during the procession. “The bikes were armed with a first-aid kit, which included emergency drugs, necessary injections, and oral rehydration solution. The bikes have all features of the four-wheeler ambulances, and are equipped with a siren and fire extinguisher,” said Dr Jagtap who treated a 32-year old man whose fingers were injured. A professional biker, Baljeet Singh said that like any other ambulance driver his work was to take an emergency call and then provide the pick-up and drop facility to the doctors for the emergency medical services.