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News : Emergency Response System Inaugurated in Accra
Accra, Ghana, Sept 29, 2015 -- An emergency response system (ERS) that is intended to consolidate the emergency services of the Police, Fire Services, Ambulance Services and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has been inaugurated in Accra.
The ERS, also known as the Public Safety Assembly Point or the 112 system, is expected to eliminate the inefficiency of the systems that were operated by the emergency institutions to enable them to attend to emergencies promptly.
The new system was put together by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GHIFEC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and powered by Sieghardtech.
According to the Administrator of GHIFEC, Mr Kwabena Owusu Akyeampong, the ERS has a toll-free three-digit number (112) associated with it such that any emergency situation, regardless of the type, would flow through a central location.
He said the system had some features which allowed calls from any phone regardless of how much call credit an individual had, adding that locked mobile phones, which were programmed to call 112 by default could also access the number.
He said the system was able to route calls to the proper emergency agency for response, actively call back and assist callers through an emergency 24-hour operation schedule, and had trained emergency dispatchers following strict emergency medical dispatch (EMD) protocols.
Mr Akyeampong said trained emergency dispatchers including highly specialised emergency medical dispatchers were available to answer distress calls which would be characterised and routed to the appropriate emergency respondent based on the nature of the emergency.
"These calls are toll free on any phone and would provide automatic location identification (ALI) for dispatchers to pinpoint the approximate location of the caller," he said.
Additionally, he said with the collaboration of the telecom operators, the service would leverage the GPS and other location-based services that the cellular companies had on their network, as well as draw a road map that would allow a true 112 network to be implemented in the country.
Inaugurating the centre, the Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, said the government remained committed to ensuring that every citizen was secure and safe in case of any disaster or security threats.
In that regard, he said, a public safety system would soon be established to allow customers to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their areas.
Additionally, he said, the system allowed accessibility of emergency information for persons with speech or hearing disabilities, explaining that "text telephone devices would allow them to send and receive text messages over telephone networks".
He, however, cautioned the public not to place hoax calls to the centre as that was dangerous and could be regarded as a criminal offence punishable by law.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, October 2, 2015