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Draft UAE law for people to help those in danger without fear

Asma Ali Zain/Dubai
Filed on December 24, 2017 | Last updated on December 24, 2017 at 11.00 pm
The UAE will be the first Arab country to implement such a law
The UAE will be the first Arab country to implement such a law

Currently, around 70-90 per cent of the people hesitate in getting involved due to the fear of being caught up in medico-legal procedures.

A draft federal law that will allow bystanders or the general public to help those in an emer-gency situation without being held accountable is ready for approval, a senior official has said.

The law on the protection of providers of assistance and relief from non-medical community members has been finalised, said Dr Saleh Fares, head of Emirates Emergency Medicine Division at the Emirates Medical Association (EMA), while speaking to Khaleej Times on Sunday. "We are pushing it and aiming for it to be in place by the first quarter of 2018," he said. Drafted loosely on the international 'Good Samaritan Law', the draft law has been tailored for the UAE and states that "no criminal or civil appeal shall be made to any person who has provided in good faith, assistance or relief to another person who is in an emergency situation."

At present, no such law exists in the UAE due to which the community members hesitate to provide help in emergency situations. "Currently, around 70-90 per cent of the people hesitate in getting involved due to the fear of being caught up in medico-legal procedures," said Dr Saleh. However, with this law's implementation, those helping others with good intentions will be protected. "We want people to get involved and not to be scared to help others who are in an emergency and genuinely need help," he said.

Dr Saleh also said that the first few minutes are important in saving lives. "If help is provided in the initial minutes of an emergency, it can make a big difference in a life or death situation," he explained.

He said that community members who have previously not been able to use first-aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) will also be able to help others in public spaces. Like all laws, the draft law will also hold people liable for not reporting an emergency. "If you can but didn't help, then you are lia-ble but our intention is not to punish people but encourage community involvement in emergencies," said Dr Saleh. As per the law, public help will not be needed in crime events or after official assistance services have arrived at the scene, among other case-to-case scenarios to be cleared once the detailed law is passed. "All government departments are in consensus and we will be meeting the Ministry of Health and Prevention next month to finalise other legalities," he said.

Humane side of the law

>The UAE will be the first Arab country to implement such a law

>It's based on the international Good Samaritan Law

>Once in place, the law will aid volunteers and ambulance authorities

>Those providing assistance with a good intention will be protected under the law

>It will allow the community to practice first-aid and CPR in public places

You are protected by the law, if you:

>Provide help and first-aid in emergency situations with good intentions

>Report emergencies

>Provide help ONLY until official assistance arrives

>Are not at a crime scene

What the law could cover

>Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are, or who they believe to be, injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated

>The protection is intended to reduce bystanders' hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death

>Countries where such laws exist include Canada, UK, US, Finland, Germany, Australia

>Most such laws do not apply to medical professionals' or career emergency responders' on-the-job conduct, but some extend protection to professional rescuers when they are acting in a volunteer capacity

KT Nano Edit

Helping Good Samaritans

Law and order rules are well-intentioned, ensuring the best interests of people. But then, the same laws can deter people from doing good work. This is an anomaly, one that is being corrected by the UAE as the authorities aim to introduce a form of Good Samaritan Law next year. It is a great move, and people should make conscious decisions and help whenever they can.

asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com





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