A private initiative in the Netherlands is attempting to set up a new emergency service which uses volunteers alongside professionals and which it claims should be able to reach people in life-threatening situations more quickly.
Everyone with proper qualifications, such as a first aid diploma, will be able to register as a volunteer, RTL said. After vetting, their information will be kept in a databank so they can be called on in an emergency.
The backers of the SOS Alarm service say they hope it will operate alongside police, fire and ambulance services.
A spokesman for the justice ministry said the ministry is ‘positive’ about the initiative but that it is too soon to say if the new service will be given official access to the existing emergency services.
The service will be launched if 20,000 volunteers sign up, Nos television said. Tracked by mobile phone, the volunteers will be called in if there is an accident or other incident within 500 metres of where they are located at any given time.
The foundation behind the service is a non-profit organisation. It is not clear from the website how the service is to be funded, although the website does appeal for donations.