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Thursday, January 24, 2019

911 in Cebu suffers delayed responses

IN THE first two days of 911 emergency hotline’s implementation, several glitches were experienced in Cebu City.

Three legitimate calls from Cebu City were referred to the command and control center (C3) for response.

However, the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CCDRRMO), who managed the C3, took several minutes to respond to the emergencies.

CCDRRMO chief Nagiel Bañacia said a longer response time was experienced since all calls will have to go through the 911 system in Manila before they are diverted to Cebu for the response. The 24-hour emergency hotline is supposed to operate nationwide.

Aside from it, details that were relayed to them were incomplete, which meant the responders needed more time to locate those who had called for help.

In one medical alarm in Barangay Lorega, Bañacia said it took them 30 minutes to locate and respond because of the lack of details given to them.

After receiving the call, Bañacia said they had to call the barangay first because the name of the sitio given to them by the 911 personnel did not exist.

One of the three calls referred by 911 to C3 was an alarm in Danao City, which is no longer under Cebu City’s jurisdiction. Bañacia said the City cannot respond to it. The alarm had to be referred to the concerned local government unit (LGU).

Improvement

“The process is very long but we understand that the system is still new and there will be improvement soon. It needs a big labor to improve coordination and to strengthen the process,” he said.

Bañacia said it will be better if the system will be localized, which means alarms involving Cebu City must be sent directly to the City’s response team, particularly when it’s a medical alarm.

While the National Government is streamlining the process, Bañacia asked the residents in the city to call local hotlines 166 and 160.

Medical

The hotline 166 responds to peace and order and other medical emergencies while 160 is the direct hotline for the fire department.

Unlike other LGUs, Bañacia said it is advantageous for the city that the C3 was already in place and operational because 911 personnel can transfer the calls they received.

“I must give credit to Councilor Dave Tumulak because the system was already there,” he said.

Aside from the existing C3 in Barangay Mambaling, Bañacia said the City Government is also planning to install another command center in City Hall, which will serve as back-up system when the first one will malfunction.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña also announced the matter in his Facebook account.

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