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Monday, August 1, 2016

Philippines 911 Emegency Call Hotline: When to call 911?

911 is the emergency telephone number intended for use in emergency circumstances only and using it for any other purposes such as prank calls can be a crime.

When you dialled 9-1-1 from any telephone, you will be link to an emergency dispatch center by the telecom industry such as Globe, Smart, PLDT or any other local telecom in your area.

911 hotline has just officially started today August 1, 2016, as the national emergency hotline here in the Philippines nationwide, that means, if there are emergency, dialling 911 from your mobile phone will connect you to emergency, rescue, police, or fire services, according to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). You will then be provided with medical, fire, rescue, police assistance as well as K-9 units, depending on what your emergency needs.

As of this morning, 911 hotline has received 2,745 calls - 75 with legitimate concerns, 1,119 dropped calls, and 304 prank calls, said PNP Chief Dela Rosa.  Senator Richard Gordon who is also the Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross said legislators would review if there’s a need to pass a bill to impose penalties on prank callers.

So, when to call 911 in times of EMERGENCY?

An emergency is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, the fire department or an ambulance where every second counts, such as:

1. Heart attack
2. Uncontrolled asthma attack
3. Child birth in progress
4. Any event involving large amounts of blood
5. Uncontrolled fire
6. A life-threatening event such as a knife fight
7. An armed robbery or crime in progress
8. A serious car accident (not a fender bender)

Those are just few samples of an emergency that needs to be called through Emergency 911 hotline. Prank calls are strictly discouraged because it will delay the response of dispatchers when there are real emergency on some calls in your area. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency you should call 9-1-1. It's better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.

All call goes through Processing. This stage is also called the “Telephone Triage”. Its purpose is to get as much information from the caller as possible regarding the emergency so that the emergency workers can provide the proper and appropriate response.

Some of the basic questions that 911 Call Takers will ask are the following:

1.    What is the nature of the emergency?

2.    What is the name of the caller?

3.    Where is the emergency?

4.    What is the callers contact number?

At times, other questions are being asked by the Call Taker and/or Emergency Medical Technician, especially in medical emergencies, so as to have a more accurate picture of the emergency scenario.

There are some instances that some operators mistakenly thought real calls to be a prank calls because of the large number of prank calls they recieved. Like for example, in 2006 in the US, 5-year-old Robert Turner called 911 when his mother collapsed form heart problems. The call taker thought he was making a prank call and told the little boy that she would send help and hung up. The boy waited three hours and, with his mother still unconscious, called 911 again. This time, a different call taker told the boy that he would get in trouble if he kept playing around. Scared, the boy hung up. His mom died.

Please DO NOT CALL 911 for any of the following:

1) for information
2) for directory assistance
3) just to talk
4) paying for traffic tickets
5) for a pet emergency
6) as a prank.

It's a prank call when someone calls 9-1-1 for a joke, or calls 9-1-1 and hangs up. Prank calls not only waste time and money, but can also be dangerous. If 9-1-1 lines or call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need. In most places, it's against the law to make prank 9-1-1 calls.

If someone calls 911 by mistake, he or she should not hang up. Rather they should let the dispatcher know what happened so they know there really isn’t an emergency.

Telecommunications and digital services provider PLDT, together with subsidiaries Smart and ePLDT, said they shall fully cooperate with the government for a nationwide emergency hotline, 911. That means they won’t be charging any amount for a call thru their network for 911. While Globe Telecom said they would charge P5 per call to the hotline.

Do you know that in the US, in most areas each household and business pays a small monthly fee for 9-1-1 service that appears on their phone bill. There is no per-call charge for calling 9-1-1. However, EMS/ambulances dispatched through 9-1-1 may charge for taking someone to the hospital; this is a separate ambulance charge, not a 9-1-1 charge.

But here in the Philippines, the 911 emergency hotline was derived from Davao City's Central 911, where the services is free of charge.

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