Staff members working at the facilities of Integrated National Center of Security Ecu 911 in Samborondon municipality, near the city of Santiago de Guayaquil, Ecuador on Sept. 22, 2012. (Xinhua/Shi Sisi)
QUITO, May 19 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese company has been working with Ecuador to build an emergency management system for the South American nation, an iconic project in technological cooperation between the two countries.
In Itchimbia Park, on the top of Itchimbia hill in Ecuador's capital city of Quito, stands a brand new three-floor white building, whose outer wall is engraved with huge red-and-silver block letters that read "ECU911."
This building is one of two national command and control centers of the ECU911 system, a flagship project of the Ecuadorian government in which a technological platform brings together all security agencies to respond to emergencies with a single telephone number.
With its successful implementation in Ecuador, the public safety project will soon be extended to other Latin American countries, including Venezuela, Bolivia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The system, constructed by the China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC), came into service in 2012 and all work on its centers was completed earlier this year.
The integrated security service system "ECU911" includes altogether 16 command and control centers throughout Ecuador -- two national centers, five regional centers and nine provincial centers.
These centers have formed a safety net in every corner of the Andean country and ensured people's safety in case of emergencies.
At an opening ceremony for the 16 centers, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa spoke highly of the effect of the system.
"ECU911 is a good example of cooperation between Ecuador and the Chinese government and its advanced technology and management concepts allow Ecuador to become by far the only Latin American country with such a modern and integrated emergency command and control system," he said. "The effect of its operation has also been confirmed. Ecuador has now become one of the safest countries in Latin America."
With the security network in place, the South American country's crime rate has fallen by 24 percent over the past three years. And its security ranking has jumped from the 16th to the fourth most secure country in Latin America, according to the management committee of the ECU911 system.
The project uses a communication integration platform to link together all public security agencies, including the police, fire departments, transportation, and paramedic units. This facilitates response to an emergency via a single telephone number -- 911.
When receiving emergency phone calls, the operators in the ECU911 centers immediately search through relevant security camera footage, locate electronic maps, and schedule appropriate resources on a communications control panel through three monitors in front of them within three seconds.
The location of the people who call 911 will automatically appear on the electronic map and the operator can thereby coordinate available personnel and facilities near the location of the accident from multiple sectors through radio and handheld computers.
In general, the above procedure can be processed within 40 to 60 seconds, and within five to 10 minutes, relevant units will arrive at the site of the accident and start rescue work. Three years ago, the whole emergency response process often took two hours.
A staff member explaining plans for the future growth of the Integrated Service in Security "Ecu 911" program at the facilities of Integrated National Center of Security Ecu 911 in Samborondon municipality, near the city of Santiago de Guayaquil, Ecuador on Sept. 22, 2012. (Xinhua/Shi Sisi)
Since 2012, the ECU911 system has cumulatively handled more than 80 million emergency calls. At the beginning, false alarm rate was as high as 90 percent. With the management and operation over the past three years, the proportion has fallen to around 20 percent to 40 percent, which greatly improves the system's efficiency and avoids wasting emergency resources.
"The ECU911 project is unquestionably a leap forward for my country," said Cesar Navas, Ecuador's minister for security coordination.
Navas said cooperation with Chinese companies coincides with "a peak" in bilateral ties between Ecuador and China, which have close collaboration in various fields.
In addition to ECU911, CEIEC has also been helping Ecuador build the Comprehensive Security Project for Public and Commercial Transport, or abbreviated as SITPC in Spanish, since 2013.
SITPC was funded by refundable credit from China and its first phase was completed last March by installing safe transport devices in buses and taxis. The devices consist of two video cameras, help buttons, a digital recorder, a satellite tracking device, and backup power equipment. The help button is also connected to the ECU911 system.
Lorena Bravo, executive director of the National Traffic Agency, said traffic accidents in Ecuador are one of the leading causes of death, mainly by speeding and inexperienced drivers.
The transport project is "very important and effective for Ecuador," since it is able to receive some 5,000 emergency alerts on criminal acts or accidents, Bravo said.