Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The emergency hotline numbers you must know in Bhutan

The sudden electrical short-circuits nearly turned a beautiful Sunday afternoon into a tragic memory yesterday in my neighborhood. I was busy working on an article for my blog when I heard my wife and my daughter rushing out to the veranda. I followed them enquiring what was going on and I was shocked when they told me that there was a fire outbreak in the building on the other side of the road. Apparently there was a short-circuit at the MCB-box and the spark had begun spreading fire across the circuit board and down into the heaps of old books, carton-boxes and wooden planks which were kept right under the circuit. Within seconds, a huge crowd of people had gathered to douse out the fire which had not yet got out of control. When I just heard people talking about splashing water at the fire, I suggested that it would not be advisable if the power-line had not been cut off. But I think people down on the road did not hear me because I was on my veranda. Soon somebody splashed the water and it caused even greater sparks and the flames began to gain momentum. The entire area began to be engulfed in thick smoke and we all started panicking. I asked if anybody had called BPC or Fire Department, but nobody was sure if anybody did it. So, I got back to my bed-room and dialed 110 to call the Fire Department. I informed the Fire Police and the fire-truck immediately came to the scene as promised.

We all were lucky. The fire had not yet exploded into uncontrollable flames when the fire brigades arrived. They first used a fire extinguisher ball to put off the raging flames. Then when BPC cut off the power-lines, they used water from the fire-truck to extinguish the entire fire. The fire was brought under control in less than an hour. It was a narrow escape for all of us in the neighborhood because if the fire had started at night or if people had not noticed it on time, it could have destroyed the entire row of houses because it is a clustered colony. It could have even spread towards my house. Fortunately, this incident happened during the day and people had seen it on right time.

This experience has made me realize one important thing: to always keep in mind the emergency hotline numbers. Our life is uncertain. We don’t know what tragedy will befall us and when. So, I realized that it is very important to have all the emergency contact numbers on the fingertips. It was a shame that I couldn’t remember the BPC’s emergency hotline when I tried to call them. So, I could only call the Fire Department. This experience has encouraged me to share the emergency hotlines here so that you would be able to get help on time. The emergency contact numbers we would mostly need are as follows:
• BPC for emergencies related to electric short-circuits and related accidents: 1250
• Fire Department for fire disasters: 110
• Police for crime reporting: 113
• Hospital ambulance service: 112
• Traffic Police Division: 111.

There are few things we must remember when we call these numbers for help:
• Clearly describe the situation;
• Provide the clear location of the scene of disaster;
• Always be the last person to hang up the phone;
• Let the other person to get all the details about your location and the emergency situation before hanging up the phone.

But before such disasters happen, it is very important for all of us to be careful with our electrical appliances/equipment, cooking gas, water-heaters and so on, because most of the time, these are the main causes of short-circuits and fires. The BPC website recommends the use of only genuine and good quality electrical fittings, wires and other appliances. It is also suggested that we must never try to open and repair electrical appliances without adequate technical knowledge. More importantly, I think we must always monitor our electric lines including the meter-box and switches/plugs. We must also watch out for any leakage in the LPG gas pipes from time to time. Let us always take these basic precautionary measures and stay safe forever.


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