Volunteer First Responders Reduce Fatalities

In 2015, an average of 11–12 road fatalities would occur every month on India’s National Highway 60. Survival rates for seriously injured victims of road crashes on the road were less than 5%, in large part due to the delay in receiving medical assistance.

Alliance member Forum for Prevention of Road Accidents (FPRA) set to improve the outlook for road victims on Highway 60 by empowering local communities. Young people from local villages, gas station attendants, shop, restaurant, and hotels staff along the highway were selected and skilled as emergency first responders. They were trained in first aid for crash victims including how to deal with fractures, wound, bleeding, CPR, head and spine injuries and how to apply various kinds of bandages.

Now, there are 41 emergency first responders available 24 hours a day along a 120-kilometer stretch of the highway. In addition to providing first aid, these volunteers also assist in transferring road victims to the nearest hospitals.

The contact detail of the emergency first responders are displayed on billboards along the highway and if a crash occurs, they are just a phone call away.

Since the project was implemented, fatalities have reduced considerably. Last year, only 34 fatalities were reported, a significant improvement compared to the 140-plus fatalities recorded each year before the project began.

The success of the project has drawn attention: the Transport Commissioner for Odisha has decided to replicate the project on other vulnerable stretches of road and the project was nominated for an India Road Safety Mission Award sponsored by Maruti Suzuki. Read more HERE.