Road angels want to spread their wings

A Grab driver is hoping to create a huge network of first responders to help injured road crash victims.

Pham Quoc Viet has studied first aid and wants to pass on his knowledge to others who work on the streets of the capital in a bid to save lives.

Road angels want to spread their wings
Pham Quoc Viet, the founder of Angel First Aid Rescue Team. Photos courtesy of Angel First Aid Rescue Team.

The 33-year-old, who lives in Hanoi’s Thanh Tri District, knows only too well what it is like to be a helpless victim. Four years ago he was injured in a road accident in Tuyen Quang Province.

As he lay on the street concussed and waiting for assistance, many other motorists simply passed him by because they did not want to get involved in someone else's accident, he feels.

“I understand the feeling of people who get injured on the road and are left alone,” said Viet, who hails from Nam Dinh Province.

“I am determined not to leave anyone uncared for if they get into road accidents.”

With just basic first aid skills and enthusiasm, after two years in Hanoi, he was helping about 100 people who were victims of traffic accidents but ignored by other commuters.

A little over six months ago he founded as Angel First Aid Rescue Team with four other motorbike riders.

Today his team has more than 30 members made up of ride-hailing staff, delivery drivers and street hawkers.

Road angels want to spread their wings
Viet and his team are ready to help injured people. 

But with the roads being such a dangerous place, there is always room for more.

He added: “There were so many cases where the victims still have a chance of survival if they get basic medical treatment right after the accident.

“But because other drivers do not have proper first aid skills or do not know how to do it, many people have to wait until they are brought to hospitals.”

With most of his team's members lacking basic medical skills, Viet has started hosting first air courses. But his organisation is still financially stretched due to the cost of equipment.

 

“Financial issue is really a challenge,” he said. “Every member uses their own money to buy medical supplies and other necessary first aid equipment.

“Before the new drink driving laws came into effect, the number of accidents involving alcohol was high and it made things really difficult.

“But now, with the new rule, the number has halved and our spending on medical supplies is obviously less.”

According to the National Traffic Safety Committee, in 2019, there were more than 17,000 recorded traffic accidents nationwide that injured about 13,000 people and killed more than 7,000.

Hanoi’s Traffic Safety Committee reported that in the first nine months of 2019, there were 958 traffic accidents killing 375 people and injuring more than 600 people.

Road angels want to spread their wings
The Angel team on the night shift.

With the figures so high, Viet knows he and his fellow angels have a tough task on their hands.

He said: “Sometimes I will get a call at midnight. If the victim is in another area, I will inform other team leaders to go there.

“If the accident happened near where I am or the victim’s injuries are too severe and the accident’s location does not have many of my people passing by, I will go there to support the team’s members and to keep my eyes on the victim’s situation.”

“Through this activity, I want to spread community awareness of helping each other between Vietnamese people, and between the Vietnamese and society.

“I also want to send our team’s spirit that regardless of occupations, we encourage everyone who is working on the road to help injured drivers with just basic medical knowledge so there are no more cases of injured people being left alone on the streets.”  VNS

Ly Ly Cao

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