04 February 2014
February 5, 2014 marks the fourth anniversary of 911 Emergency Communications Centre operations in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Launched on 5th February 2010 by then Programme Manager, Ms. Juliette Gooding, 911 is a unit within the Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force and operates twenty-four hours daily. Calls requesting Police, Fire and Ambulance Services from all inhabited islands of the Turks & Caicos are answered from one central location at Providenciales Police Headquarters.
911’s achievement to date include the Street Naming and numbering project in collaboration with the Mapping & Survey Department which is almost completed on Providenciales and is expected to commence in Grand Turk and South Caicos within the first quarter of 2014.
Radio communications among agencies have improved as all agencies are informed simultaneously of incidents at the same time. This has contributed to better coordination among agencies as they all receive timely notifications of incidents.
Quicker response times of all agencies as once a call is received emergency responders are informed simultaneously which lead to apprehension of criminals caught in the act, prevention of major damage to properties in the case of fires and lives being saved as 911 Telecommunicators are trained to assist callers to deliver babies, administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and other life saving procedures.
One of the major challenges faced by 911 is the large volume of prank calls and false reports made by mainly children playing with old cell phones. These calls are a burden on the system as it ties up the telephone lines and responders, which can delay callers with a real emergency from receiving timely assistance. Parents and guardians are reminded to be vigilant and monitor their children to prevent misuse of telephones.
911 Manager, Tammika Lall advises callers to remain calm since it is important to cooperate with Telecommunicators when calling 911 by answering questions and providing all pertinent details as this helps to paint a picture for responders who need to be aware of the type of incident they are responding to. It is vital that we continue to work together to keep our communities safe.
Ms. Lall extends sincere thanks to the staff for their hard work and continued dedication to this job as 911 Telecommunicators are unsung heroes and the true first responders in an incident. She said, “We are also grateful to our colleagues in the Police, Fire and Medical Departments who continue to operate with professionalism in challenging situations many times without all the required resources.”
Former 911 Programme Manager, Ms. Gooding said, “The role of a 911 Telecommunicator is not an easy one as it requires dedication, sound decision making skills and a commitment to be at work taking care of the needs of the community even under difficult circumstances while others are home celebrating holidays, birthdays and other events.”