The helpline will be formally inaugurated and go fully operational by the end of December
The emergency hotline “999” and the dedicated call centre for it have made a soft launch this month.
Anyone from any place across Bangladesh can call this number for an ambulance during medical emergencies or assistance from police and the Fire Service and Civil Defence during relevant urgent situations by providing detailed information.
They will have to keep their phone on for further inquiries by police.
The ambulance service, however, is not free.
Police said legal action will be taken against anyone making prank calls on the emergency number.
Attached to Police Headquarters in Dhaka, Assistant Inspector General (media) of Police Sahely Fardous has said that the service would be formally inaugurated and go fully operational by the end of December.
The 24-hour-open nationwide toll-free emergency helpline has 100 operators, 19 dispatchers and eight supervisors.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the main purpose of hotline was to make sure that people can simply dial a number and receive all the emergency services quickly.
The ICT Division had started the National Emergency Service 999 in October 2015. Earlier, the service was only available to landlines, but it’s now available on mobile phones too.
Since then, the hotline has received numerous phone calls from people with queries, mostly regarding law enforcement, fire brigade and ambulance services.
Considering the response, an inter-ministerial meeting was held at the Ministry of Home Affairs over the issue on October 8 this year, where Police Headquarters was assigned the responsibility of conducting the service.
Afterwards, a team headed by an additional deputy inspector general of police began the necessary processes to officially launch the service, which were recently completed.
As a part of this programme, workshops on community safety awareness were held in the country’s 64 districts have taught people, even those living in the rural areas, how to use “999” services. Each district administration was also advised to continue the awareness campaign.
Sources from Police Headquarters earlier said the services will be formally inaugurated next week by the prime minister’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy, who had also provided instructions to the Ministry of Home Affairs in order to finish the setting up of the hotline and the call centre as soon as possible.
The centre was also set up at the police control room on Abdul Gani Road area, adjacent to the Secretariat, in Dhaka city, according to sources.