Always ready for service: Red cross' Delhi Brigade wing

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New Delhi, Aug 15 (UNI) It was not only security agencies who were on their toes for weeks in the run-up to I-Day.

One more organisation was also working overtime.

St John Ambulance, Delhi Brigade wing, an arm of Red Cross, along with Army's two first aid camps, was seen camping on the premises of the Red Fort to provide relief, care and healing touch to the people, especially children, in their hour of need.

Administering first aid to a child, injured in the melee of refreshment distribution and amid frenzied activity of joy and celebrations, the core commander of St John Ambulance S N Solanki told UNI that he had been coming here for the past 37 years, without missing any year as the Day had become an integral part of their yearly planner.

Drawing parallels between the years gone by, in which thousands of people used to throng the Red Fort for listening to Prime Minister's speech and the recent ones, Mr Solanki said with the plummeting crowd the risk of getting injured had also minimised but the bourgeoning assembly in those days was the ''real test of our service''.

But, he regretted, that during the early years of independence when people came to the Red Fort for August 15 celebrations, they used to be a carefree lot, but with terror attacks occurirng more frequently in recent years, celebrations now-a-days are held amid a feeling of fear and alarm.

St John Ambulance, primarily designed for disaster management, is a regular feature of the Government paraphernalia at the Red Fort as people, especially children, fall sick during rehearsals and the D-day session, said Mr Solanki.

''This time only three children reported some injuries and complaints of dizziness on I-Day and the overall number ranged between 35 and 40,'' said one of the volunteers of the Delhi brigade.

The ambulance ws present throughout the 15 days of rehearsal as children were delicate souls and required special attention, asserted Mr Solanki.

Asked about the kind of medicines and arrangements they have for the injured, he said all kind of first aid medicines like Disprin, Paracetamol, sprain sprayes, glucose, bandages and others were kept in the stock besides 20 ambulance were already stationed in the area in addition to one parked on the Fort's premises.

''And if need be, then we have all arrangements in place to take the patient to hospital within 20 minutes,'' said the confident core commander of the Delhi wing of St John Ambulance.

Ameena, a ten-year-old girl being treated by the volunteers, said,''I suddenly felt nausea after the ceremony so my teacher brought me here but now after taking medicine I am feeling better,'' she added.

Expressing relief over the fact that I-Day celebrations passed peacefully, Mr Solanki said,'' We wish every event pass off like this only as peace and harmony is our sole purpose but we are always ready to work for the people's cause.'' UNI GT GL ND1354

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