The Central Communications and Emergency Response Center (Davao City Central 911) is a 24/7 local emergency response system of the Davao City Local Government Unit established to provide a centralized and integrated system that links the government’s resources to promote immediate, effective, and coordinated delivery of emergency response services.
Background and Problem
The history of Davao City Central 911 can be traced back to 1997 when the City Government of Davao and the Davao Light and Power Company undertook a partnership to put up the Davao City Street Lighting Project which mobilized lighting of the streets and alleys of Davao City to curb the rising incidence of crime during the period. The lighting project worked under the assumption that crime and criminality breed under a culture of darkness, hence, the project was designed to promote a sense of security in the city. A breakthrough feature of the project was its proficiency at accurately defining the exact location of light poles through the Power-One program, a Geographic Information System (GIS) that the company developed. Former Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte deemed such technology a “potent instrument” to aggressively fight criminality and so in the next few years, the Davao City Government and Davao Light continued working together to further develop the project and integrate Davao Light’s GIS in the LGU’s campaign for a more peaceful and orderly city.
Solution and Impact
When Davao City Central 911 was finally set up in 2002, it was designed as a call-and-dispatch center that connected assistance-needing residents with its own emergency resources through the existence of five operational units, namely: Emergency Calls Answering Point and Dispatch (ECAP-D), Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), Fire Auxiliary Services (FAS), and K9 unit. The integrated system for safety and security under the Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) paved for the installation of about 190 surveillance cameras in various points to monitor crimes and accidents and to manage traffic situations. The residents’ mobile access to Central 911 was facilitated through the LGU’s partnership with telecommunication companies such as the Philippine Long-Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Bayantel, Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Sun Cellular. In the same year, Central 911 was also successful in upgrading Davao Light’s GIS software so that it already fits the technological requirements of Davao LGU for its peace and order campaign. The Emergency Calls Answering Point and Dispatch, at that point, can already facilitate tracking both the locations of distress calls and the nearest responders. It also added features for capturing, storing, and recalling data in an electronic database. Through the integration of all available emergency resources into one emergency response system, the LGU ensured faster delivery of emergency services and reporting of crime incidents in the city. Residents in need of assistance were able to immediately summon responders to the scene of the emergency. They were also given a platform where they can participate in government programs promoting peace and order.
The Central 911 facility started with only 34 mobile units and an in-service contact center for the enforcement of laws in 2002. A year after it was launched, it added to its ensemble its own Emergency Medical Services Unit, Urban Search and Rescue Unit, Fire Auxiliary Services Unit ,and K-9 Unit. Incremental improvements in unit equipment and personal capacity were consistently provided throughout the years. Central 911 has also started engaging in the regular conduct of training in all barangays to encourage officials in installing disaster risk reduction measures in support of the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Committee (BDRRMC) and the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DCDRRMO). In 2018, Central 911 introduced a mobile application that can assist patients seeking emergency care to keep track of ambulance responding to their calls. However, this was temporarily deactivated pending the development of a New Generation 911 Mobile Application.