Over 3 in 10 calls for 911 are medical emergencies

MEDICAL emergencies comprise most of the received calls by the Davao City’s Central 911 this year.

Data from 911’s call center showed that from January to November this year, there were 15,091 calls requesting assistance for various medical emergencies. Throughout this period, the hotline received a total of 46,277 valid calls.

Common medical concerns included assault, animal bites, burns, heat emergencies (stroke, exhaustion), industrial accidents, injuries from falls and falling objects, penetrating traumatic injuries (gunshot, stabs), stings, and traffic incidents.

There were also incidents on allergic reactions, breathing problems, fainting and dizziness, hypertension, stroke and ingested poisoning. Calls on time-critical medical concerns were also received: choking, drowning, electrocution, natal concerns, and unconsciousness.

Central 911 chief Emmanuel Jaldon urged communities and emergency responders in the barangay to learn basic first aid and life support to address common trauma cases.

“Being equipped with basic first aid skills can mean the difference between life and death,” he said, adding that the same knowledge can delay a medical condition from getting worse and can even save lives.

RA 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010) mandates the government to adopt a DRRM approach that promotes the involvement and participation of all sectors–especially the local community in terms of responding to emergencies and disasters at their capacity.

Apart from medical concerns, vehicular accidents also topped 911’s list of calls received this year. There were 6,892 calls received by the department from the public, requesting assistance for motorists and pedestrians experiencing collisions and similar road troubles.

Jaldon is hoping that through the efforts of the local government on managing the traffic, these accidents will be lessened. The new traffic schemes and the jaywalking ordinance hopefully will help curb problems on the road.

Other notable calls received by 911 were requests for assistance for public disturbance (3,712), noise complaints (1,996), and intoxicated persons (1,818).

Domestic problems, bank alarms, assault, fire, and mental cases were also on the list. Theft, hostage and other urban rescue-related concerns were also received.

The top three districts where the calls originated were Talomo (16,197), Poblacion (15,049), and Buhangin (8,205).

For the first half of the year, 911 received at least 3,500 valid calls per month. From July until November, more calls were received: at least 4,500 valid calls per month. August is the month where there were most calls were made to 911 (4,796).

Earlier this year, Jaldon expressed alarm over the high volume of non-emergency calls that 911 received. He encouraged the public to call 911 only when emergency situations are legitimate and life-threatening.

Central 911 call center figures indicate that about 68 percent of the calls received are considered as non-emergency.

For example, during the months of July, August, and September this year, Central 911 received 43,214 calls but only 14,027 of these are valid. The rest of the 29,187 were non-emergency calls (prank and silly callers; inquiries about location of recent fires; and test drills).

“The priority of Central 911 as the responders is people’s lives,” Jaldon said.

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