4. Emergency response example
The Fire Brigade or Ambulance service respond to emergency calls as quick as they can. Calls are routed to the regional 999 emergency control centre who then despatch whatever resources are needed. The key information they require is the location and details of the incident and this is needed as soon as possible. Discuss the implications of accuracy and timeliness of this information exchange and what measures can be used to improve the quality of the information.
Background example: The Emergency Control Room at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service take over 66,000 emergency call a year and co-ordinate the response to over 40,000 incidents a year. They have 63 highly skilled staff who are trained to take emergency calls, they control over a 100 fire engines in the Greater Manchester area.
People who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired can access the emergency service via the text relay service on a text phone.
This is the information they elicit when a 999 call is received.
- Name or number of the involved property or a nearby one
- Name of street, road, district and town
- Nearest main road or local landmark
- Nature of the emergency
- Other relevant details.
|Importance of accurate and timely information exchange:|
|People are often in a panic when they report an incident and this may lead to the incorrect location or details being given to the call handler. The call handlers are trained to calm people down and to try and make sure they are providing the relevant information. This is a form of data validation. Sending a fire engine or ambulance to the wrong location is a life threatening event.|
|Emergency services sometimes get malicious callers who report bogus incidents. This inaccurate information leads to the service using up resources when a real call may be coming through. All calls are recorded and their number may be traced to discourage this irresponsible behaviour.|
|Incidents need to reported in real time. The control centre has sophisticated systems in place so they can see who is doing what at that moment within the service. They can then route the 'job' to the emergency station most able to deal with the incident. Delays will cost lives.|
|Confidence about the location and details of the event is increased when a number of people are reporting the same event. Redundant paths to the same information is a form of data validation.|
|With road traffic accidents, the person reporting the incident may be unfamiliar with the area and do not know their exact location. Their mobile phone location can be traced to help locate the event. If the call is on a land line the calling number may be identified and the exact address identified but this will depend if the caller has withheld their number or is ex-directory.|
Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you
Click on this link: Emergency 999 control centre operation
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