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Emergency help system in Lithuania

Emergency calls to 112 are answered in two territorial branches of the Emergency Response Centre – in Vilnius and Klaipėda. These branches serve the entire territory of Lithuania.

When answering emergency calls, call takers of the Emergency Response Centre must promptly assess the need for help, find out the location of the incident and prepare and transmit reports on the need for help to respective services according to the algorithms (response schemes, questions) provided by help services, i. e. the police, emergency medical service, fire and rescue service, and environmental protection service.

Calls for emergency help are answered and processed, and the process of provision of help is managed in the information system of the Emergency Response Centre.

In order to respond promptly to a request for help and to provide the necessary help, the key task for emergency services is to identify the exact location of the incident.

Unfortunately, the exact location of the caller is known only when calling 112 from a landline, as it is registered at a specific address. When calling from a mobile handset, caller location is one of the main problems which all emergency call centres and emergency services face not only in Europe but also worldwide. 

Emergency call centres do not locate the caller themselves. Mobile operators determine the approximate location and transmit data thereon based on the connection of a handset to the mobile base station (tower). 

Since the beginning of 2017, the Timing Advance /Round Trip Time method has been used in Lithuania, when the caller’s location (zone) has been determined not only by handset’s connection to a mobile base station (tower), the area of the coverage of that station and the direction sector, but also based on the propagation time of the radio signal from the base station transmitter to the mobile handset and back. Although received with a call, these location data are not accurate, and the area of the caller’s location in suburbia can cover as many as 1015 square kilometers.
 

Installation of the AML location system, which is currently the most advanced system in the world, started in Lithuania in 2016. Based on this method, when calling 112 from a smartphone with an updated Android or iOS operating system, the handset itself determines its location based on GPS, Wi-Fi or radio signals of mobile transmitters and automatically sends its coordinates to 112 in a coded SMS. The accuracy of the location data obtained using this method ranges from 6 meters to 1.2 kilometers, and they are obtained in 30 to 60 seconds. 

However, the location data received with the call are only used as an aid – when responding to a request for help, the caller himself is the main source of information about the location of the accident.

In addition to the location, the caller has to also indicate other information to the call taker having answered the call. The call taker shall ask the caller more questions coordinated with emergency services and, based on the obtained data, he will classify the incident and complete an electronic report card the event, the data of which shall automatically be transmitted to the respective services.

Having received an electronic message in the register of incidents registered by the police, operational management units of the police at county centres respond to requests for help of the police. 

In case of emergency medical service, the caller must answer 2 to 4 standard questions, and then is usually connected to the dispatch centre of the respective emergency medical service station.

The Emergency Response Centre coordinates the forces of the fire and rescue service itself, therefore the information collected by the call taker during the call is immediately (within ≤ 60 s), during the call, passed on to dispatchers in Vilnius, Klaipėda or Alytus, who send the necessary fire and rescue forces and continue to operatively manage them.

Incidents falling within the competence of environmental protection service are passed on to the Report Service of the Department of Environmental Protection under the Ministry of Environment, which analyses them and makes decisions on response to them.

The Emergency Response Centre does not have the power to control activities of emergency services and cannot influence how fast they respond.

 

Last updated: 14-07-2021