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  • Seoul Citizens Call 119 Every 12.8 Seconds

  • Welfare, Health & Security News SMG 3775

    In 2013, Seoul citizens called the 119 Seoul Emergency Operation Center every 12.8 seconds. The 119 Seoul Emergency Operation Center is responsible for serving as the first line of response to emergency situations such as fires, rescues, and first aid, providing first aid instructions and directions to hospitals and pharmacies for citizens, offering chronic disease counseling, and providing interpretation for foreign 119 callers.

    By type, the duration of calls was 1.2 minutes for emergencies, 9.3 minutes for rescues, 24.7 minutes for fires, 39 minutes for animal safety, 1.5 minutes for providing first aid instructions and the locations of hospitals and pharmacies, and 1 minute for chronic disease counseling and interpretation for foreigners calling 119. In 2013 alone, a total of 2,470,457 calls were made, making an average of about 6,768 cases per day.

    < Calls made to 119 Seoul Emergency Operation Center in 2013 >

    Type / Year Calls
    transferred to
    Accidental calls

    on cell phones,
    etc., or no answer
    Prank calls Location
    First Aid
    Health Call
    (General health
    or safety
    2013 96,866 879,775 183 38,138 357,969 10,229 522,949

    In the 10 years from 2004 to 2013, a total of 26.9 million 119 calls were received. Of these calls, miscellaneous calls, including general health and safety counseling, accounted for 44 percent, followed by accidental calls and no-answer calls at 31.4 percent, rescues at 15.7 percent, calls to the First Aid Management Center (First Aid instructions and hospital and pharmacy location instructions) at 2.3 percent, calls transferred to law enforcement organizations at 2.2 percent, rescues at 1.6 percent, and fires at 1.2 percent.

    Originally, the 119 Seoul Emergency Operation Center was only responsible for calls regarding fires, rescues, and first aid. However, since June 2012, it has also been accepting calls that used to be made to 1339 for first aid instructions and directions to on-duty hospitals and pharmacies.

    ­ 119 First Aid Management Center (Originally, 1339 Hospital and Pharmacy Location Provider)
    – Usage: June 22, 2012 – December 31, 2013 (About 1 year and 6 months )

    Type Total Hospital and Pharmacy
    First Aid Instructions General Medical
    (Directions to hospitals)
    Number of
    620,756 307,492 88,887 150,.402 36,745 2,556 34,674
    Percentage 100 49.6 14.3 24.2 5.9 0.4 5.6

    Also, starting in 2013, the Health Call Center became part of the 119 Seoul Emergency Operations Center. The Health Call Center is the organization in charge of providing counseling for chronic diseases and health examination results, as well as interpretations for foreigners who call 911. In 2013 alone, the Health Call Center received a total of 2,429 calls that required interpretation. By language, 67.6 percent of the calls were in English, 17.7 percent in Chinese, and 11.4 percent in Japanese.

    ­ Health Call Center (Chronic Diseases, Health Examination Results, Foreigner Inquiries, etc.)
    – Usage: 2013 (For 1 year)

    Category Total Underlying
    Folk Remedy/
    Common Sense
    Vaccination Other
    of Cases
    10,229 443 6283 232 1,014 234 126 1897
    Percentage 100 4,30 61.40 2.3 9.90 2.3 1.2 18.6

    ­ Foreigner Usage by Language (2,429 cases)

    Type Total English Japanese Chinese Vietnamese Mongolian Other
    Number of
    2,429 1,643 278 429 31 26 22
    Percentage 100 67.6 11.4 17.7 1.3 1.1 0.9

    Some of the most ridiculous calls, as selected by 119 personnel, included a 119 call in which a person claimed that her baby was dying, but it turned out she was talking about her dog. Other cases included a person calling for an ambulance because he had no money for a cab, people requesting 119 personnel to catch rats, bees, and bugs, and others calling to ask for toilet paper from the bathroom stall. However, there were many times when 911 agents felt their work was worthwhile, such as when they rescued a person who almost committed suicide, and other emergency rescue missions.