112 Awards 2015 - The stories of the awardees

You may read below the inspiring stories of the winners of the 112 Awards Ceremony 2015.



Outstanding Call-Taker

Winner: Ms. Inga LastauskaitÄ—, 112 Emergency Response Centre, Lithuania

The award recognises a call taker / dispatcher who has contributed to save a life or several lives by handling a particularly tricky call to 112.

"Advice given by 112 call taker helped to save a child's live"

The 112 emergency call came at 16:11 on January 27th, 2013 and was picked-up by Inga LastauskaitÄ—, call- taker at the Lithuanian 112 Emergency Response Centre. A man urged for an ambulance in one of Vilnius City blocks. Notably sounding troubled, the caller talked about his 2 year old son that started having convulsions. Inga rapidly gathered initial information from him and immediately passed a dispatch alarm to Vilnius Ambulance Station. Then she turned back to the caller, instructed him to remain calm and to not hang-up. But suddenly the situation worsened – the child went unconscious, stopped breathing and started turning blue. The caller fell into panic, but Inga managed to put his emotions under control and to lead him to start initial resuscitation of the child. She advised him on how to perform CPR: to make sure that the child's airway was clear of any obstructions and then to proceed with chest compressions and artificial respiration with ratio 30:2. She kept listening for background sounds and asking about the child's condition periodically to make sure CPR was performed correctly and effectively. The provision of the instructions lasted continuously for 10 minutes – until an Ambulance Vehicle arrived at the scene and took over for further resuscitation. Thanks to the active and accurate support provided by Inga, yet another child's life was saved. Being contacted some 5 months after the incident the caller commented that to his own opinion the help over the phone provided by Inga was critically important. Therefore Inga was nominated for the Outstanding Call Taker / Dispatcher Award Category as this case clearly illustrates how critical pre-arrival instructions are.

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Outstanding Citizen

Winner: Mr. Aleksandre Bozhadze

The award recognises individual(s) who have contributed to save a life or several lives by calling 112 or making sure that 112 was called or/and an emergency rescue involving a call to 112 and an outstanding response from the emergency services.

"8 years old boy saved her mother's life, Georgia"

On the 27th of February, at 04:06am a call was made by an 8 years old child to the Emergency and Operative Response Centre of Georgia.

The little child was woken up by the sound of falling and he discovered that his mother was lying on the floor unconscious. The child was alone at home. Quickly he realized that his mother's unconscious state was caused by improper installation of the gas heater. But the boy was not confused; he turned off the heater immediately, blocked the gas pipe and opened the window in order to let fresh air in the house.

The boy was aware of how he should behave in emergency situations. He immediately dialled 112 in order to get the needed support. The little boy explained at the 112 call-taker that his 27 years old mother was unconscious as a result of gas intoxication and urgent help was essential. Despite the fact that the boy was quite nervous, he showed shrewdness and gave the 112 operator detailed information in order to receive prompt and efficient assistance for his mother. The child provided information about his address. In order for the emergency brigade to reach the place of destination effortlessly and rapidly the boy described the surrounding area as well as the parallel street and pointed out the shortest way to go there. The child explained to the 112 call-taker that the main entrance door was locked with a padlock so he would throw the padlock key to the rescue team from the window.

Despite the fact that it was winter and the heavy frost, the boy was not thinking about himself. He wrapped his mother in a warm blanket while he was sitting in thin pyjamas with an open window. As soon as the ambulance came to the place of destination, the unconscious patient was immediately sent to the nearest hospital for treatment.

A little 8 years old boy was not confused in such a critical situation and despite, his age, he showed the greatest cautiousness and attentiveness to save his mother’s life.

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Outstanding Emergency Call Centre

Winners: Regional Emergency Agency (AREU), Lombardy region, Italy

    Special Telecommunications Service, Bucharest, Romania

The award rewards an emergency call centre that has achieved clear results for citizens’ safety.

"AREU: a centralized agency to manage multiple interconnected 112 PSAPs, Italy"

Founded as an agency running Ambulance Services in 2010, AREU is also the manager of 112 in Regione Lombardia, Italy. Based in the city of Milan, their 112 PSAP is the biggest in Italy, managing a population of around 3 million people, with an average of approximately 6500 calls per day.

Milan’s 112 PSAP delivers:

  • An average response time of 3 seconds;
  • Advanced reports on processed calls: 85% of calls processed correctly – 13% of calls dropped by users in less than 3 seconds, before the call-takers’ response – and only 2% of missed calls.
  • A cost of 1 EUR per year per citizen of the metropolitan area of Milan.

AREU also manages a network of PSAPs (Milan, Varese and Brescia), to cover a population of 10 million people through Regione Lombardia. The PSAPs are all interconnected thanks to AREU’s IP network, with redounded PBX infrastructure and failover mechanisms for the 112 CAD disaster recovery. AREU specific requests were for a fully integrated CAD platform with third party PBX vendors, as well as other service providers, converging all in the CAD GUI interface.

All 112 PSAPs managed by AREU have access to:

  • SMS for deaf people;
  • Professional interpreter services for particular languages, such as Arabic or Chinese, due to a big presence of these groups in the Region;
  • Location of the caller, provided by Telcos through the Ministry of Interior (MOI), using cell triangulation;
  • eCall services;
  • 112 smartphone app for location of the caller, using positioning available on the smartphone itself.

With a step in the next Generation, AREU is already connected to a national Emergency VPN (E-VPN), first version of an Italian ESInet, where all 112 PSAPs must be connected. AREU’s 112 PSAPs are both “consumers” of the services provided by the E-VPN (e.g. call location information coming from the MoI data centre) and “providers”; by being part of the eCall project “HeERO”, AREU created a fully functional eCall PSAP, able to provide the service to other Italian PSAPs, thanks to the E-VPN. Also, in 2014, AREU launched the official 112 smartphone app “112 Where ARE U”, available on iPhone, Android and Windows phones, fully integrated with its 112 PSAPs. The app allows callers to send automatically their location information, along with other useful details, helping Call Takers during their interview. Wth AREU’s data centre being part of the E-VPN, all other PSAPs may benefit from the app and the integration with CADs. AREU is planning to share with other international PSAPs their location resources, in order to become an operational certified location service provider. AREU is leading the 112 revolution in Italy: a country with an old tradition in emergency numbers, quite independent from each other, and managed by different jurisdictions. Currently, five other regions decided to follow AREU’s method of implementing 112 PSAPs, because of the results achieved in the quality of service perceived by citizens and proven cost saving dynamics, during the last four years of activity.

"Bucharest 112 Public Safety Answering Point - Special Telecommunications Service, Romania"

Bucharest Regional Centre is the largest PSAP in Romania involved in receiving, handling and dispatching emergency calls initiated in the metropolitan area of Bucharest - Ilfov. Founded in 2004, the regional centre of Bucharest covers a geographical area of about 280 km2 and a population of about 3.4 million citizens in the metropolitan area.

Bucharest Regional Centre is interconnected with all 112 PSAPs at county level, on an Active Directory type platform technology using TCP / IP, ensuring through the set of 112 integrated applications the bidirectional transfer of voice and data.

Bucharest Regional Centre is interconnected with the local Emergency Dispatchers (Police, Ambulance, Fire brigade - SMURD and Gendarmerie), with seven specialized agencies having attributions and responsibilities at national level and with all county emergency agencies for direct transfer of eCalls and SMSs received from individuals with hearing and speech disabilities. A uniform and consistent view is thus provided to all the system operators, allowing voice and data direct cooperation between any two entities of the 112 system: PSAP-Dispatcher, PSAP-PSAP, Dispatcher-Dispatcher. Since outset, the main objective of the 112 System in Romania has been to strengthen the technological infrastructure, decrease response times and improve the efficiency of services provided to citizens. At Bucharest Regional Centre, the average response time is of 5.3 seconds for an average number of 6,000 calls received per day.

Bucharest Regional Centre is ready to ensure communication with people with hearing and speech disabilities through short messages (SMS). Messaging is performed through the single emergency number 112 and is free of charge. Steps have been taken to prioritize and locate the SMSs and an application has been completed to allow the exchange of messages with the 112 operator in a quick and easy way (pre-dial buttons, predefined message types etc).

Regarding the location of 112 calls, a centralized system has been implemented within Bucharest and Brasov 112 centres, thus providing technical resources for processing location information for all the calls at national level. The location algorithm is based on MLP protocol and location display based on cell ID, sector ID. Bucharest Regional Centre is also ready to receive GPS information related to any emergency call / emergency SMS initiated in the Romanian territory, from smart phone terminals, and to automatically send this information directly to the county where the emergency call was received.

Bucharest Regional Centre receives emergency calls in the national minority languages and in one of the international languages as appropriate. There is at least one operator speaking English and French on each shift. Otherwise, an application identifying in real-time, at national level, the multilingual operators on duty is available. Due to the uniform and unitary use of a set of 112 applications at national level, any 112 operator can participate in assisting another 112 operator (through voice and data).

PSAP Bucharest is the national centre that receives and manages the eCall and SMS type emergency calls from people with hearing and speech disabilities. This ensures receiving these types of calls from the entire country and dispatching them directly to the agencies responsible from the county where the incident occurred. In order to increase efficiency in managing the intervention resources related to the dispatching activity, a solution allowing the transfer of the 112 electronic case file to the intervention resources has been tested and is being implemented at 112 Bucharest Centre. The times for data reception and resources departure to the event location will be significantly reduced. At the same time, the location of the 112 calls performed from smart phone terminals based on GPS coordinates, reduces both the 112 call processing times and the response times.

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Outstanding Innovation

Winner: BT UK (Emergency call centre level 1), with the support of HTC (handset manufacturer), and EE (Mobile Network Operator)

The award rewards  organisation(s) or institution(s) that have demonstrated great vision in implementing innovative services/ programmes for emergency services (IT, social media, public warning etc).

"Enhanced mobile caller location development using wifi/GPS data in UK- BT UK (Emergency call centre level 1), HTC (handset manufacturer), EE (Mobile Network Operator)"

The initiative was undertaken as part of a Pilot Project in order to improve the accuracy of mobile caller location received by the PSAP Stage 1 provider (BT UK) from smart phones. Approximately 65% of emergency calls in the UK come from mobile phones and these calls typically take 30 seconds longer to handle than fixed line phones, because of insufficient location information. The basic methodology in the UK is cell-id/timing advance. The project focused on the use of existing wifi and GPS location data as an overlay on top of the already provided Cell-ID data and provided this enhanced data to the BT UK in a timely manner.

BT UK, under John Medland, first had the concept idea in 2010, it was commissioned officially as a project in 2013 and was launched in June 2014. It was realised quite early in the planning phase that both a handset manufacturer and a mobile network operator would be required to participate to make it a success. To that end, HTC and EE came on board and provided their expertise and support. HTC for their part provided a functionality upgrade to almost all its existing handsets and have subsequently rolled this functionality out to all new handsets. EE also performed a network change to accommodate the required functionality.

The process first recognises that the emergency call is made from a smartphone and the handset is asked for the "best available location information" (either wifi/GPS). The latency limit is set (20 seconds) so that there is not any unacceptable delay in receiving the information and the default network-based caller location information is always available any way, so there is no impact on the standard emergency call. A zero-rated (free) SMS is sent to BT containing the wifi or A-GPS location and other information; BT cross-references and matches this data with the cell id data. At this time, approximately 500 emergency calls a week using the enhanced handset functionality and location information from all over the UK are being handled by BT, with a 50/50 clear and even split of wifi and A-GPS sourced data. In terms of impact, improvement in caller location location using wifi/A-GPS has been remarkable, with the accuracy level over 4000 times more than network-based information. The time needed to locate the caller is reduced; there are fewer questions about location reducing caller stress and faster response times and thus reduced costs to the emergency services. There has been only small incremental changes to the existing infrastructure (no new technical standards are needed) reducing the need for any capital investment. All in all, it has been a tremendous success and there has been work undertaken with the Ambulance Service to get this innovation rolled out widely across the UK.

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Outstanding Rescue

Winner: SOS Alarm, Sweden

The award recognises individuals or organisations involved in an emergency rescue involving a call to 112 and an outstanding response from the emergency services.

"Call taking, dispatching, informing, alerting and cooperating at gigantic forest fire - SOS Alarm, Sweden"

The summer of 2014 was exceptionally hot in Sweden. Because of this, the number of forest fires was much larger than ordinary. In the afternoon of the 31st of July, a 112 call came from the forest nearby Seglingsberg (about 30 kilometres from the town of Västerås in the middle of Sweden). A forest machine operator called about a small fire that had broken out when he was working with his machine - sparks had caused an ignition. The 112 call taker could quickly get the position because of the machine being equipped with a GPS and the area affected was about 30x30 metres. A dispatcher quickly dispatched the nearest two fire stations. But the GPS didn´t show the nearest way to the fire which caused a delay in the arrival of the fire brigades in about 45 minutes.

This led to that the fire could bite and being uncontrollable. On Sunday the 3rd of August it had spread, and on Monday the 4th of August the fire brigades in the three municipalities that were affected decided to hand over the responsibility to the Swedish state, an action taken extremely rarely.

What started as a small fire was now becoming the largest fire in Sweden in modern time, a fire that would lead to the evacuation of houses and whole villages. Finally, about 1,000 people were evacuated.

SOS Alarm's Crisis Management Centre alerted the concerned County Administration Board and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency on the 1st of August and then facilitated communication between authorities throughout the fire; it also arranged a large number of telephone conferences with the aim of sharing situation awareness and a common operational picture.

There were of course a large number of people involved in the rescue; about 150 fire-fighters from 69 fire rescue services and 4 airport/industry fire brigades, 200 soldiers and 100 volunteers. There were 12 helicopters dropping water over the area and 4 airplanes, 2 of them sent from France and Italy that were especially built for water-bombing.

The staff dealing with the rescue consisted of about 85 persons, amongst them personnel from SOS Alarm. As in many events, the focus often is put on extinguishing the fire and because of this SOS Alarm had to invite themselves into the support function of the staff. When being there, we could contribute in several areas. One of the first measures taken by the SOS personnel was to set up a mobile Coordcom unit, the operational platform used for 112 and dispatching. This gave the fire chief a good overview of the rescue units.

There was a great demand of information from the public in the area (and some criticism about the experienced lack of information) and every affected municipality had set up their own information telephone number to meet this. Unfortunately there was different information given by each number. SOS Alarm quickly realized this and informed them of the national information number 113 13 which was implemented in Sweden in 2013. This quickly became an important source of information for the public.
When the French and Italian airplanes started water-bombing, there was a need of alerting the public of the danger of being in the area because of the massiveness of the falling water. SOS Alarm then provided alert to the public through text messages to the phones in the area. This service was supposed to start at the 1st of December in Sweden, but was given an early start due to the circumstances.

Of course there was a massive amount of 112-calls during the fire, several thousand from worried people who could see the smoke from many miles away. On the 11th of August, for the first time, the fire chief could state that the fire was under control. The rescue wasn´t though finished until the 11th September. By then, about 36,300 acres of forest and many buildings were devastated, one life was lost and one person was badly wounded.

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