Thursday, 10 May 2018

Dial 999 for Thailand or 191 for UK? #1

Khun Atiya in her Bangkok Post article "Dial M for Mayhem" as always raises some serious concerns in this case bridging the plethora of Thailand emergency numbers:

With 3 medical emergency numbers: 1669 and 1646 and 1554 plus a fire number of 199 how can Thai people react quickly to an emergency? 192 for a broken bridge or flood (dial 192) no doubt useful in the Climate Change era of Deep South floods and Bangkok Resilience.

Especially if another bus is on fire again - how do they become engulfed in flames so quickly? I've never heard of a Great British London doubledecker in flames. Late maybe, or three arriving at once, but never bursting into flames. In Rome it seems - and apt TDRI have raised the issue for Road Safety and school buses.

1146 for a road accident very useful in Thailand given another seven deadly days of Songkran. Would 365 deadly days be easier to remember?

And as Khun Atiya points out the silo mentality of every government dept with its own number: 1166 for customer protection? The latest round of dodgy lipsticks and face powder and skin cream?

I always thought Thailand's organic skin creams and perfumes a massive export opportunity?

And as a farang the key number I remember is 191 for the Tourist Police - an excellent Thailand initiative that doesn't exist in UK. For with tourism 10% of Thailand GDP how could farang visitors or the 100k expats access the telephone numbers without Thai language skills themselves or ASEAN 2nd language English at the other end?

And weaving around the potholes of Thailand returning to happiness and democracy slowly but surely - impressive that PM Prayut kicks off his election campaign at Buriram stadium to a 30k crowd and emerges drowning in Isaan silk.

Apt given East Kent's Vivienne Westwood launches her new fashion range - I, and my mother-in-law, have long wanted to see Jim Thompson and Isaan silk on the UK High St.

Buriram Motorsports stadium also relevant for Superprix Formula E electric car motorsports brought back to Birmingham for the first time since 1990 and ahead of next Commonwealth Games. Especially as a tourism boost with new UK restrictions on ivory and UK travel agents on animal events (Surin elephants and Phuket dolphins?) changes in UK tourism demand afoot.

And as UK wallows in the dismal swamp of stale elections and politics again with the chimera of Brexit an excuse for inaction, how refreshing to see Future Forward party registered and issuing manifestos and 120 new parties.

And surely most new political parties, four years on from the state of emergency, keen in future to revisit the military aspects of the constitution as well as the lese-majeste and S44 laws/use?

UK's Henry VIII laws over Brexit - S44 or diktat by another name - quickly dropped recently.

Dial M for Muddle now for UK politics.

But Brexit possibly an issue for emergency telephone numbers in UK.

UK and various parts of the Commonwealth use 999: phone the number and you're asked if you need Police, Fire, Ambulance or at the coast the Coastguard. The latter not much use as they simply phone RNLI lifeboats who are excellent in their swim programmes, helicopter rescue, beach lifeguards etc.

There is also a 101 non emergency number mainly for Police but they can then issue any other contact telephone number you may need.

There is also 111 an NHS number which raises issues around telemedicine and call centres for the future even those Thai hospitals at the end of the 1669 and 1646 and 1554 numbers.

And 100 for telephone directories for any other number such as a specific hospital or shop.

An excellent UK system in rapid response.

Just 1,750 car crash deaths a year. Only 400 drownings. And only 400 fire deaths.

Even police organs and blood motorbikes for emergency deliveries.

One useful tweak would be opening up the existing BT wifi to a free national network.

Police Scotland going through reform with two Chief Constables sacked after delays in responding to car crash victims. And Kent reforms to ensure the Ambulance service is working to no more than a 15 minute response time. And Air Ambulance helicopters of course for major medical incidents such as a motorway crash.

And there is the 112 EU emergency number which, unlike 999, works across all the EU nations. Again perhaps an issue of language speakers at each end.
112 useful for tourists and workers travelling between EU nations.

112 though is still after over 20 years only known by 50% of the EU population - hence 112 Day on 11th February each year (11/2 -geddit?) to promote the number.
Brexit in the rare instance it happens may affect that as already it should be displayed in UK police cars and ambulances as in the rest of Europe.

As Khun Atiya points out the EU and EEC, the latter the Thailand economic corridor rather than Brussels are keen, as is UK given the return to happiness and democracy to work with Thailand.

With both UK and Thai economic growth figures less than rosy why not an impetus to revive the Strategic Dialogue and Delivery between the nations?
Finalnd’s EU Ambassador to Thailand also active on support.

Why not Thailand taking up 112 and as a single global emergency number? The existing numbers could be retained as 999 or 911 in Americas.

Why not India and China taking up 112 and 101 and 191?

And why not 191 for tourists in UK - it would also increase demand for translators and university courses for ASEAN languages (and Hindi) etc in UK.

(to be continued)


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