FAS Angel team and spontaneous volunteers on Hanoi streets
There have been thousands of accident victims saved by the volunteer “angels”, who vow to leave no one behind, regardless of victim or culprit.
“No fee - No discrimination - No argument,” is the motto of a volunteer emergency response team in Hanoi, with the ultimate mission of leaving no one behind.
The first people showing up at a traffic accident in Hanoi for first aid in recent years have been the young volunteers wearing orange uniforms labeled “First Aid Support Angel” (FAS Angel) instead of white-coated health workers. Their active operations have made headlines.
In a road accident, first aid fast response plays an important role in minimizing casualties. Over the past three years, young people of the FAS Angel team have made their best to reach the sites of the accidents as soon as possible.
Every evening, members of FAS Angel patrol along the roads of Hanoi to support and rescue victims of accidents. They have chosen to become ride-hailing motorbike drivers so as to reach the scene of accidents faster and promptly provide first aid to victims and help take them to the hospital.
No matter day or night, rainy or sunny, FAS Angel members are still at the black spots of traffic, ready to give first aid to those in distress. Photo: FAS Angel
Nguyen Duc Long, a resident in Hanoi's Bac Tu Liem District told The Hanoi Times that in early 2022 when driving drunk, he crashes into the roadside.
“I was shocked and scared. I looked at the people around me for help. Fortunately, someone who knew the phone number of the FAS Angel team called them. About five minutes later, two young people from the team came, gave first aid to my broken leg, and then took me to the hospital,” Long said.
He added that the two members of FAS Angel applied bandages to his wound very gently and professionally like a medical staff. “The most surprising thing is that they volunteered to help for free, receiving nothing but thanks from my family and me.”
Le Van Hung, a 30-year-old man in Thanh Xuan District, got injured when he crashed into a divider. “A motorbike taxi driver passed by and then called FAS Angel for help. The kindness, as well as the decisive and quick action of the team, immediately reassured me,” said Hung.
Nguyen Thi Mai, a 20-year-old student of a university in Hanoi, said: “I was promptly assisted by the FAS Angel team after suffering a road accident, who gave first aid and brought me to the hospital. Since then, I decided to join the volunteer team after a period of training on basic first aid.”
Established in September 2019 by Pham Quoc Viet, a 35-year-old male from Vietnam’s northern province of Nam Dinh, the team of FAS Angel has currently comprised more than 100 members. Each of them does a different job but shares the same goal of directly giving first aid and helping victims of traffic accidents on Hanoi streets.
Pham Quoc Viet established the FAS Angel team with a view to helping people in distress on Hanoi streets. Photo: FAS Angel
With 10 posts located in Hanoi, they are available when being informed of traffic accidents via social media or the team's hotline number 0822510627. People can call the hotline for instructions on how to give first aid; or take a picture of the victim's condition and send the location so that the team can arrive on time to give first aid and support the victims in whatever they need.
Viet shared with The Hanoi Times that in 2016 he got into a traffic accident on the way to work, his body was paralyzed in seemingly endless pain. At that time, many people were on the road but no one stopped to help him. He tried his best to raise his hands calling for help. After a long while, there was a person who stopped and took him to the hospital.
“This is an unforgettable memory and I have always felt grateful. Only in that situation, one could understand how lonely it was to be left to die as no one wanted to help, no one dared to help. I don’t want others to suffer such feelings,” Viet said.
The fateful accident changed him radically and he decided to quit his communications job and join others in establishing FAS Angel. He offers ride-hailing services in the daytime while patrolling Hanoi’s roads at night with his teammates to spot accidents and support the victims.
Maintaining the team's activities is not easy, but Viet and FAS Angel members always strive to balance their own needs with volunteer work for the community and society. Photo: FAS Angel
“I served in the army and was also trained in first aid. Many members of my family are doctors. Therefore, I accumulated plenty of medical knowledge and I have also attended some training courses to gain more life-saving skills,” Viet shared with confidence.
From 2017 to September 2019, Viet learned more first aid knowledge from domestic and foreign experts and accumulated practical experience to guide other team members. On average, the FAS Angel team performs first aid for more than 1,000 people each year, from about 600 traffic accidents.
Over the past three years, there have been thousands of victims saved by Viet and his teammates, who vow to leave no one behind, regardless of victim or culprit.
“To better support each other, the team has applied technology to display the route and locate team members. When receiving information, the member closest to the scene arrives to assist the victims. Anyone can join FAS Angel but they must acquire first aid knowledge regularly,” Viet told The Hanoi Times.
A member of FAS Angel provides first aid to a victim. Photo: FAS Angel
The team handles three to nine traffic accidents per day on average. In some cases, they just need photos of wounds or lying positions of victims sent by passers-by to immediately provide specific instructions. It often takes them five to eight minutes to reach the scene of an accident.
The team gathers once a week to review and update first aid knowledge. Phan Nhat Quang, 31 years old from Ha Tinh Province, had a traffic accident in 2019 and was assisted by Viet. Quang is now one of the team's most active members.
“I joined the team after acknowledging how important and practical its work is. I highly value Viet’s enthusiasm as he and his teammates immediately set off whenever there are calls for assistance, even at midnight,” Quang said.
As one of the first five members of the team, Do Tien Dung, a very young man, said: “Like other members, I also have difficulties in life. However, accompanying the team to help those in need, I appreciate the values of life even more, that there is no more meaningful gift to give to others than hope."
Each member is assigned specific tasks, but all have the same goal of helping people in distress on the street. Photo: FAS Angel
Pham Quoc Viet hoped to connect those who have the same will of supporting others, who volunteer to share skills and experience so that this model can be expanded to other localities.
At the end of December 2021, after a month of calling for support from the community and benefactors, the team realized their goal of buying an old ambulance to take the emergency victims to hospitals.
“The spacious interior allows the ambulance to carry up to 3 victims at a time. This is important because a serious accident usually has over 2 victims,” Viet said, adding that the vehicle becomes a mobile storage space, providing medical supplies for other vehicles of the team.
Besides establishing a first aid team to help others, FAS Angel members have repeatedly donated their blood to help save the life of patients. As many as 20 members of the team have donated blood in emergency and the team will continue calling on other volunteers to participate in this activity.
“We always want to do more for the community, but the team's capacity is still limited. We are all ordinary workers and need the sharing and companionship of the whole community,” Viet told The Hanoi Times.
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