BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
More than 10 people collapsed from heat exhaustion during the parade ceremony in conjunction with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 64th birthday, but fortunately a 150-strong medical team was on hand to deal with any emergency.
Casualties of heat stroke and dehydration were brought to one of three makeshift first aid stations in the capital — two at the Taman Sir Hj Omar Ali Saifuddien, the venue of the event, and one at the Royal Regalia Building. The latter was mainly to cater to students who lined the streets to greet His Majesty as he entered the city.
The majority of sufferers were participants in the field parade, while at least two were members of the public, and one a flag-waving student.
Dr Sandeep Kaur from the Ministry of Health told The Brunei Times that most people suffered from hypoglyceamia (low-blood sugar) because they neglected to eat breakfast and did not properly hydrate themselves throughout the morning.
Each air-conditioned station housed eight makeshift beds. And while most people who came to the first aid tents only required a quick rest and a drink, at least one required serious medical attention.
The Brunei Times witnessed a young navy officer brought into one of the tents at the Taman suffering from dehydration. Paramedics promptly administered an intravenous glucose drip and the patient was later taken out on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance.
Acting senior nursing officer, Maraja Ulat stated that seven ambulances were dotted around the capital in case there were members of the public needed to be taken to hospital.
He added that the on-field medical team consisting of doctors, nurses, paramedics and army medics was well-equipped to deal with any emergency.
Maraja commented that the casualties from yesterday were luckily not as high as the National Day parade in February.
Red Crescent Society volunteers were also on hand to assist medics monitor the thousands-strong crowd for those suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Thirty volunteers from the society, armed with stretchers from the Ministry of Health, lent their time to ferry people to and fro the first-aid stations at the Taman where the public could seek medical attention.
Medical team personnel keeping a watch out for any emergency during the parade at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien yesterday.
Picture: BT/Quratul-Ain Bandial
Commander of the Red Crescent contingent, Mohammad, said that the volunteers came out to help during large national events such as His Majesty's birthday, National Day and Maulud Nabi celebrations.
"We always volunteer during events like these, it is our sense of duty and our responsibility to offer our services when they are required," he said.
The Red Crescent volunteers comprised of secondary students who joined the society as part of their co-curricular activities.
Siti Aisha, one of the volunteers, said it was a thrill to see the parade first-hand instead of from the streets, where most secondary students will line up with flags to greet His Majesty.
"It's exciting to be so close the action and we also get to help the paramedics which makes us feel useful, like we have chosen to do something worthwhile," she remarked.
The Brunei Times - Friday, July 16, 2010