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Is there an emergency? Dial 1252
September 13, 2004
These men are members of TOPSLINE, India's first ever Emergency Response Service, which can be accessed by calling 1252.
It was unveiled on August 18 in Mumbai in a dramatic fashion. While the launch was taking place, a woman in the audience screamed as the man next to her was suffering an asthma attack. The ERS crew immediately rushed to his rescue. It later turned out to be a mock exercise but the point was made.
On September 11, the mobile life brigades, which include ambulances, and life patrols were unveiled. The latter use four and two wheelers, with necessary equipment to locate callers.
The service is modelled on the lines of the internationally acclaimed 911 response-and-rescue service, used in the US and some other countries. It aims to extend support to citizens in life threatening emergencies, reaching the scene of the crisis within nine minutes.
For this, it will use a state-of-the-art fleet of 30 mobile life brigades and 80 life patrols. This service will be available through subscription, a monthly fee of Rs 100 per head.
At present, it is available only in Mumbai but Topsgrup, which owns TOPSLINE, has plans to expand to Delhi and Bangalore by mid-2005 and Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad by 2006.
Photograph: Rob Elliott/AFP/Getty Images