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911 responders meet to streamline emergency response protocols

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MANILA, Philippines - After more than a year of its launching, the country’s 911 emergency response hotline is still continuously being improved to better serve the public especially in times of emergencies.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) held a forum yesterday at the NAPOLCOM/DILG attended by more than a hundred personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Red Cross, Local Government Units (LGUs), and emergency telecommunicators in the ‘911 Responders Forum’.

The forum aims to strengthen the coordination between the 911 responders and the emergency telecommunicators (agents). The attendees participated in workshop to streamline the various emergency response protocols of government entities responsible for providing assistance to emergencies catered by 911 such as rescue operations, fire, ambulance assistance, and police assistance.

Aldrin Noelle Sevilla, Rescuer at Malabon DRRMO, said that it was high time for those involved in the emergency response unit of 911 to smooth things out on how to better deal with emergency calls. He particularly stressed the need for agents to improve their way of identifying and relaying emergencies.

Meanwhile, Delia M. Nebres, Shift Supervisor 911 NCR Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), said that this forum is very timely since this will address issues experienced by 911 agents. Nebres recalled that in one of the emergency calls she handled, she had a hard time contacting the concerned responders.

Edgar Allan Tabel, Executive Director of Patrol 117, noted that with the one year operation of 911 they found out that there were several protocols practiced by responders that are not compatible with each other. He said that these incompatibilities of protocols often caused problems on emergency response operations, these either delay the response or even totally hamper emergency dispatch.

Further, Tabel said that streamlining emergency protocols will not only efficiently expedite emergency responses but also protect both agents and responders. He assured the stakeholders that the government is bent on making the country’s emergency hotline world class especially that the 911 Hotline has the full support of the President.

Tabel added that in line with the President’s instruction to make the country’s emergency hotline at par with the emergency response system of other countries, the government is already beefing up the country’s public safety answering points.

The 911 receiving capacity has already tripled from 15 seats to 63 seats, Tabel said. Also, 168 out of the 180 personnel of the hotline already received certifications as emergency telecommunicators from the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch.

On the side of the responders, the government according to Tabel is continuously working to provide equipment and capability enhancement such as the provision of ambulance and police patrol cars.

Director Tabel asked that the public extends their patience and understanding on the current problems being encountered by emergency response hotline. He admitted that “911 is not perfect yet but we are doing our best to improve our service”.

Aside from streamlining their emergency response protocols, the responders also signed a Resolution of Commitment which contains their advocacy to the “One Response, One Emergency Number” as their pledge of support to the goals of the national emergency hotline system of the country. (PAE/PIACentral/Manila)

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