What you should know about Pilipinas 911

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - January 29, 2015 - 12:00am

The thought of being in an emergency situation is always scary. You want to make sure that you are prepared to deal with every kind of emergency that comes your way. In the US and in other countries around the world, they have a 911 system that assures anyone that a trained emergency crew will arrive within minutes of placing a call.

Now, ever since my nanay became afflicted with mild dementia four years ago and when I fell ill, I’ve taught myself how to cope with and prepare for medical emergencies.

That’s why when I heard about Pilipinas 911, I became interested and tried to find out more about it.

According to Pilipinas 911 managing director Ruel Kapunan, Pilipinas 911 is almost two years old. It is an offshoot of his previous business called Citywatch which provided GPS tracking and monitoring services to companies that had a lot of delivery trucks. When a truck was stolen, got into an accident or broke down, they took care of dispatching responders to the scene, such as the police, local rescue and towing services.

He decided to begin the process of shifting the business when Typhoon Ondoy hit in 2009. “When I saw 10 of my employees almost dying from that disaster, I realized that I could use technology, my police contacts and our 24/7 operation to help people in various emergencies,” explains Ruel.

So he began to study the intricacies and workings of the 911 system. “As I learned more about the 911 service in the US and how effective it was in saving lives, it inspired me to reinvent my business,” he explains.

He eventually gave up the GPS tracking business and put up Pilipinas 911. His company even received their accreditation and certification from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED), the standard-setting body for 911 call-taking and dispatching processes.

Ruel incorporated Pilipinas 911 in May 2013 to focus on helping people in emergencies. His company now operates in exactly the same way as 911 in the US, although Pilipinas 911 is a private service and is subscription-based to eliminate prank calls that normally hound emergency services all over the world. The subscription fee is P800 a year for the individual package and P1,500 a year for the family package (a maximum of five family members). “It includes unlimited calls to our call center, police and fire assistance, two free private emergency ambulance service for the individual package and a total of three private emergency ambulance service for the family package,” says Ruel.

Interested persons can visit their website at www.pilipinas911.com and subscribe online, or they can call 531-1930 for subscription. Once they subscribe, they get a Pilipinas 911 emergency card with a unique ID number. “If in an emergency, the subscriber calls any of the four numbers of Pilipinas 911,” says Ruel. “The call-taker will ask for the ID number or the complete name to verify the subscribers’ identity. The call taker, who is also a registered nurse, will ask a few questions to determine exactly what is wrong with the patient and what type of response is needed.”

Pilipinas 911’s paramedics are regularly trained by local consultants and by foreign paramedics consultants as well. They must also be certified Emergency Medical Technicians, and some of them are also Registered Nurses. “They are trained to manage and deal with all sorts of medical emergencies, and when necessary, coordinate with our medical director any time of the day,” says Ruel.

Pilipinas 911 handles all medical emergencies. “We also handle police-related and fire-related emergencies. We are also capable of handling cases that require a combined response such as police and medical for suicide cases, police/fire rescue and medical for vehicular accidents.”

They have 6,800 contacts nationwide so they can find responders to help their subscribers wherever they are in the country, assures Ruel. At least now, with Pilipinas 911, we don’t have to worry about emergencies any more.


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