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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

With the majority of emergency calls deemed ‘unnecessary’, when is the right time to call 999?

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An official at the National Command center(NCC) in Qatar stresses the importance of calling the emergency number only in serious situations, describing most calls as ‘unnecessary’.

The majority of emergency calls received by authorities in Qatar are “unnecessary” and non-urgent, a top official told Qatar Radio on Monday.

The emergency department receives some “80 to 85% non-urgent calls every day,” Second Lieutenant Ahmed Al Mutawa at NCC said, noting this keeps the line too busy to respond to serious cases.

“Examples for these reports are minor traffic accidents without injuries or some inquiries and complaints,” he said.

The official advised the public to call 999 only if substantial issues arise, such as “accidents with certain injuries, fires, drowning and children locked behind closed doors” as these cases require immediate intervention.

Calls to the 999 are first answered by the emergency service department before then being assorted by incidents for further action. The phone line is the link between various public security departments such as Rescue Police –Al Fazaa, Traffic Department, Civil Defence, Coast Guard, Internal Security Force, and ambulance.

For all other non-urgent complaints, the public is able to use the Metrash2 app to report crimes ,get information, or contact the police.

Users can also report cyber or electronic crimes through the application’s ‘Contact Us’ category, in which a person can send the details of the complaint. They will then be contacted by authorities for a follow-up shortly after.

When to call emergency 999

According to NCC, the public should dial the emergency number if they have a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, excessive bleeding, convulsing or if someone is unconscious. In the case of a fire or criminal activity, immediate calls to 999 should be made.

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), as well as various other hospitals, have their own emergency department connected with 999, which allows for medical consultations.

Working round the clock, the emergency service call counters can receive 60 calls at the same time, using multiple languages including French, English, Chinese, Filipino, Persian, Pashto and Turkish to guarantee quick action if needed.

Earlier this year, MOI conducted an online survey regarding the ministry’s efforts in implementation of Covid-19 precautionary measures and found 84% of participants deemed the service “very good” while 9% considered it as “good”.


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