Sunday, October 19, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 19 Oct 2008

From MNF-I, Emergency Phone Network Expands to Al Anbar Region.

BAGHDAD — Iraqis have been able to take charge and save lives thanks to their Advanced First Responder Network (AFRN).

AFRN works the same way the ‘911’ emergency phone service does in the United States, except they dial ‘104’ here. It serves as the backbone emergency communication link between Iraqi citizens and emergency services.

The network has now expanded across the Al Anbar region, decreasing the amount of preventable deaths across Iraq. Installed in 15 major cities, more than 18 million people have access to the system.

“Baghdad leaders depend on this network,” said Iraqi Maj. Gen. Saad, Ministry of Interior director of communication. “This is very important to us.”

With one phone call, trained dispatchers send the emergency messages to the correct responders. Police, fire and emergency services and diplomatic protection services are only some of the services available.

Before the network was created in 2006, Iraqi citizens had to find their own way to get help, explained U.S. Army Capt. Antonio McNutt, AFRN program manager.

“Now the dispatch center is receiving more than 1,400 calls a day in just Baghdad alone and dispatching the right response team,” he said.

Read the rest here.