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14 Apr 2022

Abu Dhabi, 14 April 2022:  National Ambulance and Special Olympics UAE have rolled out the implementation of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) into People of Determination clubs and centres across the UAE to provide a safe training environment in line with the American Heart Association and international safety standards. The rollout is part of the third phase of the "Train Safely" initiative, which, once fully implemented, will provide the highest level of safety and care for People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
The roll out follows the completion of theoretical and practical Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED training coaches received from National Ambulance covering all aspects of first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillator (AED) according to the AHA 2020 guidelines. The installation of the lifesaving devices follows specialised technical training delivered through National Ambulance’s AED Implementation Programme to ensure the coaches can manage and operate these devices in emergency situations like heart attacks which increase the chances of survival and minimise complications for athletes.
The devices were presented during a ceremony that took place in the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, in the presence of H.E. Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, Ahmed Al Hajeri, CEO of National Ambulance, Abdulla AlWheibi, Clubs and Talent Director at Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Dr Ayman Ahmad, Chief Administrative and Medical Officer, and Prof. Ahed Al Najjar, EMS Education and Research Manager at National Ambulance, as well as Special Olympics UAE Coaches and Club Representatives.
Ahmed Saleh Al Hajeri, National Ambulance CEO, said: “Special Olympics UAE’s commitment to equip their sports centres with lifesaving AED devices is a pioneering step that will undoubtedly contribute to improving the infrastructure efficiency of facilities and sports bodies for People of Determination and raising the preparedness for emergency situations.”

Al Hajeri added: “Reaching the full implementation phase of the Train Safely initiative reflects our commitment to social responsibility. The success of our partnership with Special Olympics UAE has already resulted in many achievements, including the strengthening of the safety standards offered to People of Determination in the clubs and enhancing the ambulance knowledge and a prevention culture among their coaches, and this latest phase will further improve our support for them."
Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, said: “We really value the fruitful and constructive partnership we have built with National Ambulance, the winner of the local Golisano Award for Health Leadership for its support towards the health and safety of People of Determination. Our cooperation began in 2019 and has developed significantly to better serve People of Determination athletes. The development of our Sports Programs is subject to a sustainable vision focused on enhancing all aspects of sports sectors; including facilities, stadiums, professional and specialised skills and competencies, as well as lifesaving technologies and equipment. The more we can support their efforts the better the results will be which reflects enormously on our nation’s objective to support People of Determination.”
The third phase of the "Train Safely" initiative includes providing AED equipment with the necessary technical training for coaches to operate them as part of emergency medical response, until ambulance crews arrive on site. Eight different locations are covered in this phase of the program including, the Abu Dhabi Club for People of Determination, Al Ain Club for People of Determination, Al Dhafra Club for People of Determination, Dubai Club for People of Determination, Al Thiqa Club for the Disabled, Ras Al Khaimah Club for People of Determination, Khorfakkan Club for the Disabled, and Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. More People of Determination clubs and centres will be added in subsequent phases of the program.
The Train Safely initiative provides a safe training environment for Athletes and People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities by empowering coaches with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide first aid when needed at clubs and centres for People of Determination across the UAE.
The automated external defibrillator is used in the appearance of cardiac arrest symptoms including loss of consciousness, cessation of normal breathing, no pulse or absence of any signs of circulatory activity. The user friendly device contributes greatly to saving lives and minimising the mortality rates. The electric device analyses heart rhythm, determining if an electric shock is needed based on this data.