Sunday, January 18, 2009

Emergency Telephone Number 999 in Malaysia

Many Malaysians would probably be aware that the Malaysian emergency telephone number has now been integrated to a single number, 999.

Previously before October 2007,
999 - Police and Ambulance
994 - Fire Rescue
991 - Civil Defence
112 - Mobile phone dailing

The number one problem with the emergency and rescue telephone number is prank calls. Below is the statistics of prank calls in year 2006 before the implementation of One Nation, One Number.

It was hoped that the integrated, single number would make it easier for people to remember, and to reduce the risk of calls being unattended to.

Currently, call centres at Telekom Malaysia (TM) are handling all 999 calls. These centres are located in Melaka, Seremban, Kluang, Alor Setar and Kota Bharu. Once the new Malaysian Emergency And Rescue Services (MERS) 999 system are in place, these call centres will be centralised to three centres in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Kuching.

These three centres will take all calls and “filter” them before transferring only genuine emergency calls to the Dispatch Centres, of which the police have 162 centres Fire and Rescue Services Department (24 centres), Hospitals (26 centres) and Civil Defence (23 centres).

However, one year later, after the implementation of the 999 single number, it seems that the number of prank calls are still high. See the statistics below.

Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Dato' Shaziman Abu Mansor said from the average of 67,257 calls made to the centre daily last December, only 1,396 were genuine emergency calls (click here).

One should be aware that if caught, offenders would be dealt with under the Communication and Multimedia Act Section 233 and if found guilty could be fined RM50,000 or jailed not more than one year or both.

Not only that one should never attempt a prank call (read a rather solemn reminder of the consequences of prank calls in the poem below as well as..hmmm, the story of the "budak penggembala kambing" that many of us have heard of during primary school?), one should also know how to make a proper, swift, comprehensive call, so as not to delay the arrival of ambulances, as well as interrupting with other genuine incoming emergency calls from somewhere else.

That's why in USM, I made it a point to teach the first year medical and dental students on how to make a proper emergency call for medical emergencies. Generically speaking, the components that one should relay to the telephone operator can be summed up in the mnemonic ETHANE (click here to learn more) although not every component is relevant, depending on the types of medical emergencies.

E = Exact Location - The precise location of the incident

T = Type - The nature of the incident (trauma, non-trauma, heart atack, motor-vehicle accident), including how many vehicles, buildings etc. are involved

H = Hazards - Both present and potential (e.g., explosion, spillage of combustible materials, highly volatile hydrocarbons, chemicals, etc)

A = Access - Best route for emergency services to access the site, or obstructions and bottlenecks to avoid

N = Numbers - Numbers of Casualties, Dead and Uninjured on scene

E = Existing Emergency Services - Which services are already on scene, and which others are required - s0 as not to duplicate services, and for better utilization of services in other concurrently emergency happenings.

In wikipedia, another mnemonic CHALET is given that represent the same components, but I supposed, stick to one mnemonic would be sufficient.

C = Casualties - Approximate numbers of dead, injured and uninjured
H = Hazards - Present and potential
A = Access - Best access routes for emergency vehicles, bottlenecks to avoid etc.
L = Location - The precise location of the incident
E = Emergency - Emergency services already on scene, and what others are required
T = Type - Type of Incident, including details of numbers of vehicles, buildings etc. involved

For the official website of One Nation, One Number, click here.

Other stories:
999: One Nation, One Number. Click here.
No to Crank Calls. Click here.
Seronok Kenakan Orang Punca Panggilan Palsu. Click here.
Better Emergency Response. Click here.

Read this poem "The Hoax Call" to remind ourselves not to play with the 999!
This poem is taken from this website.

The Hoax Call

It was a day that I’ll always remember

at the time though it was just like any other

but it was the day when I lost everything that I loved

my parents, my sisters and brother.

The gang that I always hang around with,

they’re just some kids from my school that I know,

we were bored and generally fed up

we had no money and nowhere to go.

I can’t remember who first had the idea

but it seemed that it might be a ball

to ring through on a 999 number

and get the fire engines out to a hoax call.

Whoever it was first decided

they also thought that the caller should be me,

I was always good at putting on accents

so I was the natural choice, you see.

We used the phone box right near the station

where we had a good view all the time,

then waving for silence to the rest of the gang

I picked up the phone and dialled - 999

Less than one minute later the doors opened

lights flashing, sirens blaring and all,

we watched the fire engines scream out of the station

going to our emergency hoax call

Soon after the gang separated

we all went our different ways

but when I got to the end of the street where I live

my house was already well and truly ablaze

Just then a fire engine came around the corner

but too late for anything to be done

my family and all our possessions

even my beloved puppy had gone.

The fireman came up beside me

and gathered me in close with his arm

“I’m sorry son, we’d have been here much sooner,

but we were called out to a false alarm”.

So I ruined my past as well as my future

and my life is now far from a ball

I still cry for my family, they’d all still be here

if only I’d not made that stupid hoax call.

1 comment:

zahirah ardy said...

yeap! the mnemonic you taught us did come in handy the day when i witnessed an accident near Pengkalan Chepa and there were so many people checking it out, but none tried to call for emergency. so i took the chance. as silly as i might sound... i was ecstatic about it :D but i did well i guess, haha. well, at least it was better than the how i did during OSPE when i was in year 1.


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