The first aid kits are kept locked away in the station control room, making them inaccessible during emergencies.
The first aid facilities at the metro stations in Bengaluru are difficult to access for the commuters. First aid kits are available at every station, but the station master is the only one who can access it. There are no kits available near the platforms.
Prakash M, the station master at Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Metro Station, Majestic, said that they have a first aid room and an ambulance stationed at the station. He said that they received basic first aid training when they were recruited. He added that an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) has also been installed at the station. They received training on how to operate the AED when it was first installed. He said that all the staff at the station are trained in basic first aid, but the staff at the ticket counters said that they did not receive any training.
Shalini, a commuter, said, “When my mother got hurt while using the stairs last month, we did not know where to go for help.” She said that since the stairs are a bit isolated, the staff could not see that her mother was injured. She wanted to go find help but did not know where to go. She added that if there were any boards in place telling her where she could get help; it would have been easier. Though the Majestic metro station has a first aid room, there is no first aid kit available in it. The kit is kept in the control room, on the opposite side of the station. Even the AEDs are kept inside a cupboard in the control rooms.
B L Yashwanth Chavan, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), said, “Every staff member, who gets recruited to work in the control rooms receives basic first aid and firefighting training.” The staff receive refresher trainings every once in a while. He added that AEDs are installed in two or three stations where the footfall is more and the staff is trained on how to use them. They also have protocols in place to handle any medical emergencies.
“I did not know that first aid was available in metro stations,” said Arpita Saraf, mother of a 9-year-old who loves traveling in the metro. She said that since she did not see any first aid kits available on the platforms or any boards indicating that they are available, she assumed that they were not there. She said that though it is a good thing that the station master has control of the first aid kit, it would be better if it was closer to the platforms as that is where the commuters are. “The control room is out of reach in many stations, especially at Majestic,” Arpita pointed out.
An independent public transport consultant said that the problem here might not just be first aid accessibility. It is the lack of communication between the commuters and the BMRCL. He added the BMRCL must get the perspective of the commuters and their problems, and take measures to serve the public better.