By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA—As part of efforts to curtail the incessant killings and loss of property on rural settlements, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC is partnering with Four D Associates to commission an Emergency Call Centre in Kaduna state.
The Emergency Communication Centre is aimed at saving lives and properties of citizens through a coordinated and pre-planned response to emergency situations and is being managed and operated by Four D Associates.
Operating within Kaduna, the Emergency Communication Centre was set up to support a coordinated and quicker response to emergencies both within and outside Kaduna State.
As a communication hub, the facility has a capacity to capture several simultaneous distress calls in different areas around the clock thereby facilitating a coherent Kaduna State emergency and cutting unnecessary and expensive duplication of efforts.
Working with Kaduna State Government, the centre collects and analyses real – time information on emergencies, prepares plans for the deployment of responders and works with the Kaduna State government to support emergency response efforts.
In conjunction with the emergency responding partners; Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency, Nigerian Army 1 Division, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSDC, Nigerian Air Force Training Command, Nigerian Police Force and the Fire Service, the ECC will also support a wide range of prevention and preparedness activities from awareness- raising to field exercise simulating emergency response.
The Chief Executive Officer of Four D Associates, the organization running the centre, Okey Ikpe, while explaining how the centre runs said: “ the Kaduna Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) is a central point from which all emergency “112” calls in Kaduna state are received . It provides valuable information about distress calls in the state and is key part of emergency services in the state. The centre provides for centralised handling of distressed calls across the country.”
Interestingly, in a bid to ensure that the emergency 112 calls are effectively handled and despatched appropriately, Four D Associates a fast growing information technology which operates in two continents across multiple countries is however conducting a formal hands on training for all the agencies at Emergency Communications Centre. Graduates of the programme were unveiled on Wednesday January 24 at the Centre and thereafter given the opportunity to respond to the 112 calls by people who need emergency attention.
The Director of Projects NCC, Alhaji Bashir Idris, The CEO Four D, Okey Ikpe and DG SEMA with senior officials of all the response agencies involved are expected to close the training programme which is being used as the pilot and will be replicated in all the states by the NCC for effective management.
The Four D boss further explained that in a bid to maintain high standards integrity and transparency in all their operations there is the need to identify the technology gaps in societies and helping underserved citizens and people obtain digital skills.
According to him, the centre has an open workspace for call centre agents with workstations that include computer for each agent, a telephone set and headset connected to agent and supervisors workstations.
‘‘The voice and pathways into the centre are linked through unified communications system. All inbound calls are received, recorded and tracked by call agents who forward to designated dispatchers. These dispatchers then contact emergency response agencies for appropriate response and attention.’’
For the call handling process , the caller is expected to dials 112 when emergency happens and the emergency call agent answers or responds while giving directions to callers, the dispatchers communicate with call agents and field responders while the field response agencies, Police, Paramedics, fire-fighters, Road Safety and Civil Defence move to the scene.
However, there are over 10 call agents and five Dispatchers who liaise with the various agencies involved in the Emergency process.