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Urgent need for single emergency helpline number!

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Isn't it odd that we have to call different helpline for different emergency needs? In Bangalore, the listed emergency helpline numbers are:

Source - www.bangalore-karnataka.com

Police - Dial # 100

Traffic /Accidents - Dial # 103

Fire - Dial 101 or 2942999 or 2251780

Ambulance - Dial 102 or 108

Jaydeva Heart Brigade - Dial # 1051

Rotary Life Saving Brigade - Dial # 1050

and so on.

Take an example, incidence of  a road accident. Going by the official instructions from Bengaluru Traffic Police, it requires for:

Communicate at the earliest to the 100 providing the following information regarding the location where it has happened, if any injuries are there indicate them, call for the ambulance, note down the numbers of the vehicle involved. Disclose your identity and the name and contact no’s of your relatives.

Consider another example of an sudden Heart Attack or Epilepsy Attack. In medical emergencies, we may have to call # 102 or #108. Here is an ordeal went through by one of the Praja member - Ambulence Service - Pizza Delivery Faster than Ambulence

Ambulance didn't had anyone else other than driver, no oxygen, forget A/C. It was a tempo traveller with a stretcher and siren,

What this tells us is there is no such thing as 'Single Emergency Helpline'  in Bengaluru, which is easy to remember and use it. Same is the story in every state, city  and town.

Need for single emergency helpline

In distress situation can't expect citizens to deal with multiple agencies thereby losing precious moments. In life threatening situations, hard to get citizens remain clam, think and take right decisions. Moreover those are very tense and emotional moments requiring an easy and helpful resource. These are the moments which calls for an help who understand, uttering some comforting words and could take right decisions.

When such is the reality of those moments, system with multiple numbers to be called is certainly not the choice. World over countries have adopted single emergency helpline number and is doing wonders in saving lives.

Single emergency helpline number enables people to remember and use it to seek help in any life threatening situations.

Objectives of a single emergency helpline number

  1. Receive, recognize and locate the caller on emergency system from all major phone systems including cell phones, VOIP, Payphone Booths etc.
  2. Understand and determine the emergency by talking to the victim or the caller.
  3. Notify the appropriate agency to dispatch their emergency response teams.

Bengaluru city definitely needs to change over to single emergency helpline system. it can not afford to continue in the era of multiple helplines.

What should be single helpline number?

It could be anything that is easy to remember and use it. It could be just converting the existing "Dial # 100" into all in-one emergency number allover city, state and country.

In US, it is the famous 9-1-1. In Europe it is 1-1-2.

It doesn't matter as along as it is same all over and it works.

Some References

  1. How 9-1-1 works in USA?
  2. Wikipedia - Emergency Service

 

 

Comments

idontspam's picture

Single ER Number

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Time has come for a single emergency helpline which takes responsibility of identifying & despatching appropriate help. This is the only way to get all departments to work together during an emergency & will also be hugely beneficial during disaster scenarios

silkboard's picture

Yes absolutely

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Yes, certainly required. One number can always redirect callers around, but there must be one number to remember, anywhere, in Bangalore, on State Highway 17, or on Nice Road, or National Highway 7.

murali772's picture

Mail exchange with Addl Commr, Traffic

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Dear Dr Saleem

On Friday, I was at a meeting of a few RWA members, convened by the Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF), to decide on a common approach to the City Master Plan Revision (RMP 2035, as it is termed) being undertaken by the BDA.

During the round of introductions at the commencement of the meeting, Mr Sudhakar Varanasi, who has taken over as the CEO of NBF recently, stated that, prior to this assignment, he was with EMRI (GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute - the people responsible for the "108" service - http://www.emri.in/ ), having put the organisation together from scratch to where it is now, handling over 30,000 calls a day in Karnataka alone, a lot of them covering rural areas. On my probing about whether a "unified emergency number" system could be made practicable in the country, Mr Varanasi went on to say that the 108 service was indeed that. Now, on chacking their website, I notice that it says - GVK EMRI handles medical, police and fire emergencies through the " 1-0-8 Emergency service". To prove the point, Mr Varanasi made me call the number, to check out for myself, and I was pleasantly surprised with the positive and appropriate response.

The question then arises as to whether we should now be propagating this number alone as the unified emergency response number, instead of the confusing collection of numbers we presently have, each agency working on its own. Simultaneously, we could perhaps have all the other agencies pool in their resources to strengthen the 108 service too.


I look forwatd to hearing from you.

Dr Saleem (Addl Commr, Traffic):
Dear Mr Rao

Thank you very much for the mail.  Your suggestions are good but 100 is used for police emergency services through out the country.  Millions of people call 100 daily throughout the nation.  Therefore making 108 a unified number is not possible. Many ambulance services use different nos like 102, 1066 1068 etc,.  There should be a common no for ambulances.  Police emergency no 100 is used for fire and ambulance servises also.

With regards, M.A.Saleem

I forwarded the above to a few PRAJA members, and their responses were as below:

SV:
This is an unfortunate response. It is a good point that nationally, people use 100 for police emergency services. However, nothing prevents the configuration of telephone services so that dialing any of the emergency numbers  - 100, 101, 102, 108 etc. gets redirected to a single, unified, integrated call center. I am assuming that currently, each number goes to its own call center. Unifying those and adding the budgets can lead to so much better services, and the citizen has to remember just one number! Where there is a will there is a way.

SS:
Its just a turf war, you can see the way he has written he believes 100 can do the job just as well. Citizens dont mind if 100 is the number & 108 is discontinued. we just need ONE number not A PARTICULAR number but that one number has to take responsibility & accountability for closing all emergencies & calls. Apparently, 100/103 is staffed by people who are considered useless to the dept.

RD:
108 is a 'public-private' service set up for a specific purpose (under GoK Dept of Health and Family Welfare - Arogya Kavacha scheme). Same GoK has mandated these multiple numbers to be manned under Police and Fire departments. I think we should push GoK in general, possibly for a bill in the legislature to combine these services. Traffic Police cannot make this call by themselves.
 

Muralidhar Rao
Ravi_D's picture

From previous discussions....

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.... here on Praja - see meeting notes here and here.

kbsyed61's picture

Do 100 or 108 matters?

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Do number 100 or 108 matters? Certainly not. Looks like Dr. Saleem hasn't grasped the essence of having a single emergency number all over.

IDS rightly said his answers smells more of turf war rather than based on reality and common sense. What is being demanded is a single number for all kinds of emergencies and alerting all the needed EMS agencies for a timely response - Medical, Police, Fire, Disaster MS, etc.

It is definitely beyond his jurisdiction and writ to move to such system. May be we need to find that Babu/Minister who can do this.

-Syed

Promod Kapur's picture

Single Number

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I would rather that we make a detailed study of how a single number will facilitate better response for various emergencies. There are issues that will have to be taken into account like (a) Creation of a network from the single number to connect with other agencies, (b) Time being of essence, how long would it take to get a expert advice/response and what technology is involved, (c) Competence, training and motivation of the persons taking the calls. The last mentioned issue is one that reflects the culture of our collective mindset.

It would be great idea to discuss the possibility of improving on the existing system and a meeting of minds would perhaps be appropriate. Till then, let us not talk about the negatives or turf wars. I do believe that people with relevant experience and knowledge (including people who are now involved in running the system) should come on the same platform to brainstorm the prospect of improving services of emergency in nature. May be Praja or CAF could organise/create a suitable opportunity/platform. It is an idea that will essentially involve  inputs from people, field of appropriate technology and those who have spearheaded/experienced similar challenges.

murali772's picture

very true, Sir!

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Agree with you totally, Major. Yes, it's not a question of turf wars. It's essentially to do with getting all agencies involved to work together in evolving the much needed system.

PRAJA-RAAG will try to pursue the matter with the Secretary, DPAR.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Inputs from people in the field

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My forwarding the link to this debate, to people in related activity/ field, elicited following responses:

Viswanath Seetharam, ORR Industries Assn:
If I have to share some thoughts they are as under :

  1. A professionally run / handled call centre needs lot of infrastructure with connectivity - this comes at a cost., Rs.1000/sft
  2. Incase of what has been rightly said by Promod - it is not just receiving call, but also respond appropriately which needs movement/vehicle
  3. Very interesting topic but cannot be discussed on email, but across the table and would request if we can meet on this.

Why I am saying this is bcoz, I travel extensively and a eg : Bomay has QRT team, they have strict slas for public too that they will reach within 3-6 minutes wherever a isue happens and they take responsibility and also authorized by police. We can discuss the pro's and cons and share our thoughts with Cmr and Addl.Cmr to take this forward, but with deadlines and targets to be achieved.
 

 

Uday Vijayan, Beyond Carlton, www.beyondcarlton.org:
I fully support the need for a "unified emergency response" given the fire department (at least when Carlton happened) did not even use technology to record calls. Let me know, if you would like anything from us.

 

Sudhakar Varanasi, Namma Bengaluru Foundation
My observations:

  1. It is better not to have many numbers on one's mind in emergencies. A confusion there can lead to loss of life.
  2. 100 and 101 call centres do NOT exist in many small towns and villages in Karnataka, I was told. If so, where is the question of using these numbers? In the absence of such call centres, rural folk will have to call 8 or 10 digit number which is not a good idea in emergencies.
  3. 108 has built world class tech support with fault tolerance, disaster recovery, voice recording of all calls, round the clock professional support, etc.
  4. 108 is quite popular in Karnataka, going by the number calls received daily, especially from villages and small towns.

I actually believe that the whole world should have one three digit number.  Currently, a German visiting France, for example, will need to access 112 in case of an emergency. In the US, he will need to call 911 and so on. All this can be confusing and result in unnecessary loss of life, especially since a lot of people travel across the globe those days. There is a move towards this in developing countries.

At least in India, let us have a single access number, wherever possible. I understand that 108 number is used in 14 states or more by GVK EMRI as well as others covering more than half of India, on a robust technology platform. There is a move to cover entire India by this service.

I will be happy to come and explain this in detail if you have any meeting of people concerned with this. I appreciate your interest and enthusiasm in building public awareness in this important topic that can potentially save many lives.

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

Time for convening a round table on EMS?

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Murali and Others,

First of all thanks for taking the debate to higher levels than I had seen before. Looking at the interests and people's concern, I really feel it is time we take the debate to its logical conclusion.

Time for a structured and in-person discussion. Should we call for a Round-Table event to discuss the issue and campaign for a unified Emergency response system in Karnataka.

BTW, Gujarat, AP and Tamil Nadu are already moving in this direction.

Source - Times Of India, Gujarat planning to bring home US-style 911 soon

Source - IBN, AP to have Integrated Emergency Response System

Source - TNHSP, Notice for Expression of Interest for developing and operationalising management of
Comprehensive Emergency Response Service

 

-Syed

kbsyed61's picture

Make 100/101/102 redundant!

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The best way forward and easiest thing to do is to expand and improve the 108 service. When 108 becomes the defacto emergency number that people start using, automatically 100, 101, 102 all will become defunct.

Any attempt to replace 100 numbers will be met with opposition. Therefore forget number 100, start dialing 108 for emergencies.

murali772's picture

It can happen right away

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After getting a total outlay of `70 lakh in the last State budget (2011-12), the group has deployed AVLT in all the 517 ambulances in the state. “This new technology will  help us monitor the ambulances from time to time. We can actually see the movement of the ambulances and their status from our call centres. We can see if the ambulance is at the base location, its movement from the base to the scene, from scene to hospital, at hospital and from hospital back to the base. This will help us immensely in building efficiency in emergency care, as we can assign ambulances using the maps,” said Sridhar BN, Regional Chief Operating Officer, GVK EMRI.

For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

So, all in all, the EMRI is an excellent PPP model, in which both the government and the public appear to repose full faith.

Now, certain aspects of the service seem to have been overlooked by people in general. If you look at the Ppt presentation on the service (accessible as an attachment to this blog), you'll notice a mention "Number 1-0-8: single integrated number for medical, police and fire emergencies", which point has been further reiterated by Ravi as "EMRI control center also has full time police rep(s) on call. Call 108 for any emergency, medical, theft, fire. Police on call will coordinate activities thereafter" in his post, accessible here.

So, a mechanism is in place already for handling not just medical emergencies, but even police, fire and all kinds of emergencies. And, the 100, 101, and other services are, even on the admission of the officials in charge, nowhere in a position to respond effectively to emergency situations, and cannot be geared to do so in future too. So, what's anybody waiting for? Shouldn't we all straightaway be propagating 108 as the single unified emergency service for any and all emergency situations, perhaps after a bit of stregthening of its infrastructure?

And, thereafter, we can dispense with the confusing array of numbers, like the ones seen in the picture below (taken in the M S Buildings lobby), which only add to the confusion in an emergency situation.


 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Elementary Mr Srikumar!

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“If the government can make 108 services function well, why can it not run the 100 service the way it should have been?” he (Central Vigilance Commissioner, R Srikumar) questioned.

For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

Elementary Mr Srikumar! 108 is outsourced to a professional organisation, whereas 100 is run by a government department.

And, getting a government department to do something professionally, where large manpower is involved, is a most difficult task, and therefore best outsourced to professional private agencies, as far as possible.

Muralidhar Rao
Mani1972's picture

We need three numbers!

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I agree that we need common numbers. May not be one, but atleast 3 of them as below:

1. Emergeny of any nature: Fire, accident, crimes (108 can be used)

2. Urgent issues like water, Electricty, garbage, transport etc (BESCOM volunteers!)

3. Any other issue related to government: complaints of corruption, delay etc. (sakala number can be used)

As somebody remarked correctly, only an Act from the government can bring coordination, like sakala did. It is possible. It's possible to put a system in just 6 months!

It will happen only when public demand it!

 

Manivannan

kbsyed61's picture

Public demand!

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Manivannan,

Thanks for endorsing the proposal for Unified emergency response system. Just in past couple of days, there is slew of announcements of more helplines, 167 for call to Delhi CM, 181 for rape helpline etc. Definitely we don't need more helplines. What we need is one single emergency number across the country that citizen's can remember and easy to call.More important is a functioning system behind that 'Single Emergency Number'.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/delhi-cms-new-helpline-number-for-women-167/312087-3-244.html

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/dot-announces-women-helpline-number-167/article4235042.ece

Also agree with you that for such a system to be in place, an ACT from government is needed and for that to happen, public needs to demand for it.

But, million dollar question, how does public demands? If anything, our CRS campaign's experience leaves us utterly disappointed in absence of any enthusiasm from political quarters.

One suggestion on helplines for utilities. Going by the present experience, as first step, every utility service provider must institute a working consumer response system that delivers. Once that is place, a single super response system will not be difficult to implement.

Any advice on channelizing public demand and getting across to politicians?

pa1's picture

call

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its good.

murali772's picture

BESCOM's Mahila Sahaya Vani

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The Bescom help desk that is barely able to address the grievances of power-starved consumers is taking another responsibility: it will double as a women's helpline. Whether power playing truant or women landing in distress, Bescom wants you to dial the same number: 22873333.

- - - The help desk though is not equipped with crack teams to rush to the women's help or even has counsellors. The move comes in the wake of the minister in-charge of the utility, energy minister Shobha Karandlaje, taking up in public the cause of women, much to the chagrin of the chief minister and the ruling party.

- - - "Our attendants will take down the complaints from women and refer them to police. We have no rescue teams, but our linemen who know Bangalore inside out may be sent to help victims,'' said N Jayanthi, general manager (customer relations), Bescom.

- - - "We are not starting anything new. We are just utilizing the facility we already have. We have 25 lines working 24x7. At the third ring, we pick up calls in 99% of the cases. We have 153 officers in the city who work round-the-clock. They are all connected in the wireless. Seeing our facility, the minister suggested that it can support the police by taking calls and routing them to the police control room. We are supplementing the police not substituting them. In case of emergency, we will also send our mobile team to the spot. Bescom is doing its bit towards reaching out to its consumers during times of emergency" - said Mr N Manivannan, Managing Director, Bescom


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

After Mr Manivannan has taken charge as the BESCOM MD, he has introduced many innovative people-friendly initiatives, the latest being this Women's help-line. And, given the fact that he has already put in place an efficient helpline service for the mainstream activity, this additional work is just an extension of the service, perhaps at a marginally higher cost.

He has introduced similar innovative initiatives in his earlier postings also. But, the problem invariably is that, once he moves out, they tend to fold up. Sustaining the tempo that he manages to build up in such initiatives will take a lot of doing, given the governmental mind-sets, than what even a Manivannan can manage in the 3 to 5 years that he holds a post.

And, here's what BESCOM officials would have liked to respond with to the query - "On duplication of work as a government helpline Vanita Sahaya Vani is already functioning, Bescom officials remained silent", but could not, for obvious reasons.

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

Welcome, but BESCOM doesn't need to do other's work!

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One can appreciate the BESCOM's initiative, but in long run, this activity should be shouldered by the right department - State Home Ministry. If BESCOM can provide this service, why not the Home Ministry?

Let BESCOM do what is mandated for - Uninterrupted Power Supply accross its jusrisdiction.

Manivannan, I appreciate your efforts and laud your initives on this. It is a welcome step at this moment of hour, but you must shift this burden to Home Department ASAP. Let the respective departments do their duties.

sanjayv's picture

BESCOM helpline

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I agree with Syed...as much as measures are needed for protection of women.  BESCOM call center doing this job is not a good idea.  Emergency response is different from an electrical complaint.  Handling an emergency response is difficult.  What happens if they are unable to help a caller?

Also wonder if the power minister had a role in this decision.  Anyway, I do appreciate the thought behind this action.  Wish the right authorities were thinking like this!

Mani1972's picture

Clarification!:)

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Dear Murali sir, and others

1. I agree with your opinion that BESCOM can't substitute a 911 system. Its not our job and we will not do that. Then what is this 'women's helpline about?' To start with, its NOT a women's helpline per se! Its a value added service from BESCOM, to receive emergency calls, and pass it on to the concerned. And, if required, we will also send our team to the spot. People are connecting this with 'women's helpline' as they feel that it will help the women the most. We also agree that it will help the women the most.

2. Thus, we need to take what comes in the media with a pinch of salt! There is communication gap and, generally media tries to make the news more 'exciting'!:) So, the right thing to say is that, BESCOM is providing a vale added service of receiving emergency calls and routing it to the concerned.

3. What is the logic behind this move? The first thing, as i explained in the Facebook is; when there is a demand, and i can supply that, why i should not? I feel that it will be insensitivity on the part of BESCOM, if we do not do our bit in receiving calls from the public during emergency and act on it, when we have a workable system in place. The second thing is; there is absolutely no extra expenditure than drawing a hotline from BESCOM to police and 108/1091. Thirdly, we are a company and we should do everything to be in the good books of my consumer. Whats wrong if i reach out to my consumer when they are in an emergency?

4. But, i agree that this is only temporary arrangement, till the govt comes up with a good 911-type system. Because, what we are doing is like the help from 'friendly -neighbor', and nothing more. We don't want to do somebody else job. As sanjay pointed out, we are also not equipped to do this!

5. I am sure that soon the govt will come with a 911-system. Till then there is nothing wrong in anybody assisting he citizens, be it be BESCOM or anybody! What is required is an assistance for anybody in emergency! The day 911-system comes to force, BESCOM will roll this back!:) Meanwhile, even if only one woman feels supported during an emergency, due to BESCOM, i will feel that everything is worth it!

Manivannan

murali772's picture

Exemplary approach, Sir

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Exemplary approach, Sir! If only more of your ilk will follow suit, in their own ways, rather than labelling such initiatives as publicity stunts, as a cover for their laziness.

Muralidhar Rao
dvsquare's picture

Very nice thought Mr Mani Sir

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Very nice thought Mr Mani Sir and very much appreciable.

But, media should report it correctly and also put some pressure on home department and other concerned authorities to take action and take the stuff further where BESCOM (Mani Sir) started.

I also see this can be taken as a populism move by our Energy Minister Sobha, credit to her ministry (also she is a woman) and use that for vote bank politics.

We want this move to be taken further by concerned department and really good to have a 911 kind facility. If that is achieved, we don't give a damn, who takes the credit etc.

Deepak

sanjayv's picture

A very sad story - again emphasizing what is written here...

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Please read this story on Deepa Mohan's blog. Apparently she was wintness to an accident on Bannerghatta road.A young girl was hit by a Tata Sumo (apparently a pure accident).  She survived the collission, but died in the hospital.

However the narrative and story of the manner in which she was taken to the hospital suggests (to me) that there were internal injuries and that a trained emergency response system, proper rules and a good hospital could have probably saved her life. Some quotes from the blog.

The ambulance arrived, and a lady paramedic got out. I was intensely relieved, that now this young girl would be in trained hands, and she would get over whatever injuries she had. I felt that they would treat her for shock, too.

To my horror, the lady paramedic did not even come close to us. She stood her ground next to the ambulance door, and kept asking if we had phoned the police. None of us had thought it was necessary to phone the police as well as the ambulance, but someone then did call the police.

and later..

All this happened from about 6.15 am to 7 am.

On Sunday evening, I came to know that the girl had died at 9.30 am.

I am not sure if the ambulance personnel could have saved this girl. But I do know that the inordinate, inexcusable delay in their even touching her could have wasted precious minutes of the "golden hour" that follows any such accident...and they *might* have been responsible for her death.

Why are the ambulance personnel so callous? Surely, their job would be to help the victim first, and all questions later? Obviously they must have had some major issues with the police earlier, which is the only thing that would explain their stance.

Why must it be the duty of the general public to infom the police? Can the protocol not be ensure that the ambulance people themselves call the police as soon as they are informed of an accident? Knowing that the ambulance was calling, the police would also respond faster. And definitely, there should be not a second's delay in the paramedics' attending to the accident victim.

 

murali772's picture

stark contrast

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Yesterday, my good friend, Mr Das (of CyBaNa fame), called me up around 8 in the morning to request me to call up the BESCOM helpline to report a live wire fallen on the road, in the vicinity of the late Dr Raj Kumar's house in Sadashiva Nagar. He was in an auto, didn't have the helpline number, and his experience with calling 100, which he mailed to me about, later, I am adding below:

I was in an auto on my way to the office when I saw the problem. Showed a couple of police constables who were passing by on a bike the issue, told them to get the message across to Bescom (because I did not have the Bescom number). Was doubtful if the constables would do the job. Tried calling 100 soon after, but nobody picked up. Got them after a couple of attempts more. The background conversation indicated that people were having breakfast - strange that an emergency number is unattended because it's breakfast time. The person there was of course courteous and said she would convey the message about the live wire on the ground to Bescom.

I'm only happy that nobody got electrocuted in the time it took to get the message across.

We seriously need a 911-type common number for all emergency services.


Earlier, I had called the BESCOM helpline 22873333, and it was picked up within the 2nd ring by a Ms Kulkarni, who collected the details from me very professionally, asked for Mr Das's number to check out the exact location, assured me that she will have the matter attended to, and signed off. For once, I genuinely felt assured by a service provided by a governmental set up.

Hat's off to Mr Manivannan for bringing about this cultural change. The contrast between BESCOM's service, and that of the police (100) is indeed quite stark. But, the question remains as to whether it will be sustained beyond Mr Manivannan's tenure as the head of BESCOM.

Muralidhar Rao
kamalakar pandit's picture

Sir, The moment Mr.Manivannan

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Sir,

The moment Mr.Manivannan moves out of BESCOM, all his value added service will go...but I  am sure where ever he goes that particular Dept, will have better practices...but if BESCOM retains those benchmark...citizen will surely benefit...time only will tell this..

murali772's picture

long overdue need

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“Bangalore city needs an integrated call centre involving the police, health and civic departments,” Principal Secretary of Revenue Department Tushar Girinath said.

Summing up a three-day workshop on ‘International Practices in Building Resilient Cities’, Revenue Secretary and Chief of the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority wing, Tushar Girinath, said he will hold a meeting with the commissioners of all these three departments in this regard.

He said the call centre should be set up on the lines of the Incident Command Centre in the US.

“In Bangalore, a number of call centres function under police, BBMP, Bescom, health department. In addition to this, the Disaster Management Authority has one call centre as an emergency operation centre at MS Building. One of the main suggestions in the workshop is that it is high time Bangalore had integrated call centres under one roof. In the US model, there will be an incident commander along with a public relations officer and a safety officer,” he said.

Girinath said he has already spoken to City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar in this regard. “Steps to set up the centre should be initiated immediately. I spoke to the police commissioner and he has promised  to meet again in this regard,” he said.


For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

Long overdue need - all strength to Tushar Girinath's initiative. Tushar Girinath comes with the reputation as the erstwhile chief of MESCOM, who brought down the losses to record low levels.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

112 - Indian equivalent of US's 911

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed 112 as an all-in-one emergency helpline number across the country for police, fire, ambulance and women safety services, among others. However, all existing emergency numbers 100, 101, 102 and 108 will be retained as secondary numbers. According to the proposal, any calls made to the secondary numbers will be rerouted to 112 with an announcement that 112 will be the future emergency number. “Once calls to the secondary numbers reduce significantly, these numbers can be withdrawn gradually,” the regulator said in a statement. - - - Similar to the 911 all-in-one emergency helpline in the US, the Centre plans to integrate all emergency numbers. 
 
For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here.
 
OK - finally, it's happening. Perhaps, Praja can claim some credit for making it happen, our having been relentlessly pursuing it. Yes, there are challenges, particularly since we have so many languages, unlike say in the US, and consequently, it'll take some time to get it going fully. Whatever, a beginning has now been made.
 
Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

Would be a biggest achievement even if it gets jus the approval!

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@Murali,

It is a good sign but a long way to go. It is only a TRAI recommendation for now. It has a long road to cover to become a reality even if in a small area.

As you have been taking up this issue at different foras, is very much needed today. Even if Modi Sarkar gets this as a government's plan and vision for next 20 years, I would say this would be game changer like his predecessors Vajpayee for quadrangular Highway connectivity and MMS for AADHAR. It is not an easy task to accomplish but it is time to have a framework for very basic emergency response infrastructure. As the news articles rightly points out the much of it depends upon the stat governments. Center must pass a bill and make it mandatory for states to implement over a period 5-10 years. Obviously states will cry about funds etc which needs to be addressed.

Even in developed countries like USA, UK, where this is a well matured system, has been built and perfected over years. US, UK experiences can certainly help to design the framework for Indian Conditions.

This is an opportunity for the PM to go down in history for bringing 112 Emergency Response system in the country.

murali772's picture

112 to become unified emergency response number in months

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Indian citizens in distress will soon be able to get help using a single number, ‘112’, for all emergency services in the country, including the police, fire brigade and ambulance.

At present, such callers need to dial in different numbers for different emergencies like 100 for police, 101 for fire, 102 for ambulance and 108 for emergency disaster management. The move, recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in April 2015, was approved by the Telecom Commission on Monday.

“It will be rolled out within months rather than a year,” official sources said.

For the full text of the report in The Hindu, click here.

TRAI had announced the intent in April last year - check my post of 8th April,15 (scrolling above). Well, it has taken a year since then. Whatever, it's good to hear that it's going to be rolled out now in months.

Having been pursuing it relentlessly from long, perhaps it would not be out of place for Praja to claim a bit of credit on the development, as also thereby re-establish its relevance.

Muralidhar Rao
sanjayv's picture

112 Emergency Number

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TRAI has recently notified of the adoption of a uniform emergency number, selected as 112 for the entire country.  Within a period of 1 year post its implementation, it is envisaged that the entire emergency response system will shift to 112 and the old numbers will be phased out.  This includes 100 - Police, 101, 102 and 108.  From press reports, it appears to be injdicated that some other helplines will alslo be subsumed into this.

Bulk of the TRAI notification (D.O. Number 102-5/2014-NSLII dated 7 Apr 2015) and the ministries response (16-04/2015-AS-III/NP/32/321 dated 25 Aug 2015 is focussed on the telecom related technical aspects of the problem).  It is mainly about collecting location and other information from the phone call and transferring the info to the call center and maintenance of the requisite databases.

All this is a necessary and important piece of the puzzle of emergency care in India.  What is left unaddressed is: details on the nature of the call center itself.  Training and provision of personnel to communicate with the caller and to dispatch emergency support competently. Recording of details and related standards for legal aspects.  Funding of such an entity to cover both urban, semi urban and rural areas of the state /nation, for call center, for care provided and other services such that it is sustainable and a satisfactory level of service is acheived.

In short, the thought is good, but just having a number does not solve the problem. In fact, a central number could make matters worse, It is accepted that the elevle of service available in the country today is fairly pathetic.  It is worth studying various options for funding emergency services and for capacity building.

Areas worth studying - the GVK EMRI 108 system, suitable legal framework for emergency care. Proposed laws on emergency care by the law commission of India.

murali772's picture

more proactive approach needed from city police

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In your worst times, the best that Bengaluru police can offer you is an Interactive Voice Response (IVR). And only if you are extremely lucky will you hear from an operator at the other end. On Tuesday, a businessman who was being chased by suspected highway robbers, met with nothing but frustration when he dialled 100 for help.

- - - On Wednesday, police reached out to Aditya, seeking details of what had transpired on that evening and why he couldn't get help on dialling 100. R Hitendra, additional commissioner, administration, said Aditya's call did not go through as he hadn't dialled the correct number from the options offered by the IVR. However, when asked why should it be an IVR and not an operator taking the calls directly, Hitendra said this system was installed to prevent blank calls. “We get several blank calls and if every call is allowed to go through, our lines will be clogged and we won't be able to attend to those really in need of help. The IVR is to help filter blank calls,“ he said.

TIMES VIEW: Police claim those unable to reach 100 constitute a small percentage. However even for that population, the call could be a matter of life and death and it's important that a trained operator answers the call, rather an IVR handling it. A person under attack will not have the time to listen to options and make a selection. The control room should not be just a support unit, but a core service. An operator should be trained to respond to emergencies with the available resources and not be a glorified telephone operator. The real measure of its effectiveness will be when people on the street trust the control room like they do 911 in the US, to help them every time.


For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the ToI, click here.

The "Times View" has summarised it most aptly. Now, the number 112 was to emerge as the Unified Emergency Response Number across the country, according to a news report in March (check my post of 29th March, scrolling above). Whatever has happened to that? Perhaps, what's required of the Bengaluru police is to pursue that with the Centre, while, in the meanwhile, putting together a far more responsive arrangement than obtaining at present.

On our part, we too will apply pressure on the TRAI and Telecom ministry to implement the 112 scheme speedily.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Excellent, Mr Commissioner; but, what about 112?

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The next time you try to call the police control room to report any emergency, language won't be a barrier. For, the control room personnel will converse with you in three languages: Kannada, Hindi and English. The moment you dial 100, the IVRS system will ask you to choose the language of your convenience.

Kannada used to be the language of communication in the control room, and usage of any other language was subject to the personnel's felicity. Given Bengaluru's emergence as a metro with global linkages, the grouse of most non-Kannadigas calling the control room used to be the language problem.

Police commissioner Praveen Sood said the language option facility will be installed by April and staff will be trained to converse in Hindi and English. "Bengaluru is a cosmopolitan city with a huge floating population from different parts of the world. Foreigners living in the city should not face any difficulty," Sood said.


For the full text (emphasis added by me) of the report in the ToI, click here.

Excellent, Mr Commissioner. But, what happened to "112" which was to emerge as the Unified Emergency Response Number across the country (check my post of 26th Dec, '16, scrolling above)?

Muralidhar Rao

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