European Emergency Number 112 Day arrives in PristinaFeb 11, 2015
For the first time this year, Kosovo marked the European Emergency Number 112 Day. The Agency for Emergency Management/ Ministry of Interior Affairs, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme in Kosovo, Municipality of Prishtinë/Priština, and key institutions and community members organized an awareness raising activity that took place in “Zahir Pajaziti square” in the capital.
112 is a toll free number which every citizen can access from landlines, mobile phones and international lines. This number activates emergency services at Kosovo level in case of need for emergency aid, illness, accidents or disasters.
The main emergency service providers, including the police, ambulance services and the fire rescue services, participated in the manifestation. Each demonstrated their work, showing their vehicles, equipment, and answering questions on operating procedures.
The purpose of this activity is to familiarize the public with the European-wide number 112, which helps protect our lives, health and belongings, says Mr. Mahir Hasani, head of the Emergency Operation Center at the Kosovo Agency for Emergency Management.
“In Kosovo, this number is functional since 2001 and has a 97 % coverage. 112 functions in the regions of Prishtinë/Priština, Prizren, Gjakovë/Djakovica, Pejë/Peć, Gjilan/Gnjilane and Mitrovicë/a. “These centres operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week”- adds Mr. Hasani.
The dedicated staff who works at the 112 centre have received over 300,000 calls during the last year and responded to over 24,000 cases. “This is a challenging job… I often pick up the phone and the person on the other line is so worried that is hard to help them fast… I try to help them relax and assist them as soon as possible” – says Lume, one of the 112 operators.
Asked if they receive calls from children that often represent the most vulnerable in Kosovo’s society 112 workers answer in the affirmative with a smile. Children were at the forefront of this public event, with groups from primary school “Elena Gjika” and kindergarten “Buzëqeshja”. Holding high their flags and balloons with 112 signs most children were excited to meet for the first time policemen, firefighters and emergency health workers. Amidst the frosty weather they hurried to explore the ambulance vehicle, visited police dogs and inquired with the firefighters how quickly they address fire incidents.
“We all know, we are parents, that a child cannot remember all emergency numbers, therefore we have thought that an activity like this today will sensitize them and remind children and parents to remember one number only and that is 112”- emphasizes Ms. Zana Hoxha- Edip, UNDP Kosovo Disaster Risk Reduction Project Manager.
Next year the organizers aim to expand this activity further, in other towns in order to raise awareness and extend the reach of this fundamental service Kosovo-wide.