With the launch of the government's hotline number 911, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) sees its own 143 emergency hotline as complementary to the national emergency hotline.
The launch of hotline 911 is part of President Rodrigo Duterte's program to extend immediate response and help to people who need rescue, medical and police assistance. This is an addition to the official emergency call center hotline 117 of the Philippines National Police, which is now termed as the national emergency and citizen complaint hotline 8888.
Similarly, PRC's 143 hotline, which has been in operation since 2008, can be contacted during emergency situations such as typhoons, floods, fires, earthquake and landslides, among others. All calls reported to and processed by the Operation Center, will be sent to the appropriate Red Cross chapter for action. It is through this mechanism, supplemented with well-trained response team and top of the line emergency and disaster equipment that fast and efficient responses are delivered. In fact, it only takes around 8 minutes for PRC volunteers to respond depending on the location's distance.
Ambulance response is one of the regular services provided by PRC. On a daily basis, PRC ambulances are called upon to respond in case of traffic mishaps, road accidents, as well as for medical and fire emergencies. Most ambulance services provided by PRC are free of charge, only, events and other festive are subjected to payments.As of 2016, PRC provided 2,968 ambulance responses among which, 2,601 were free and only 367 were paid. Rescue in midyear 2016 is more than the whole of last year's responses. Moreover, most ambulance services provided for indigent patients were free of charge and discounted.
To speed up the arrival of ambulances and other emergency vehicles, PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon emphasized the importance of activating humanitarian corridors that will direct traffic flow in case of heavy traffic.
"We are now in the process of establishing a humanitarian corridor wherein our volunteers on the other side of the road will get off their cars carrying signage that says, this is a humanitarian corridor, please give way to all emergency vehicles", Gordon said.
Chairman Gordon also proudly emphasized that PRC and the government are not competing against each other in delivering services to people, instead PRC has provided support in responding to emergency calls since 117 began. The same partnership can be expected with 911 and 8888 hotlines.
"We are a disaster prone world, not only a disaster prone country," PRC Chairman Gordon said. That's why PRC lives by its mantra and formula: Volunteers+ Logistics+ Information Technology = PRC that is Always First, Always Ready, and Always There. Red Cross invites everyone to step up and take action through voluntary service. It is through volunteering that everyone can take part and be involved in alleviating human suffering whenever it may be.
Source: Philippine Information Agency