Getting Help via Social Media During an Emergency

Earlier today, I accompanied my son to his football practice at the Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI) Makati City. Upon entering the campus entrance, we noticed what we thought at first were construction personnel doing some steel grinding or welding in one of the building lobbies. Then came a loud “bang” sound then the spark stopped. That’s when we noticed a billow of white smoke and smell of burnt copper wires coming out of the building lobby where we saw the spark earlier. Then one DBTI security guard alerted his colleagues to get fire extinguishers. It was an electrical fire. By the time we reached the side entrance to towards the gym, there is a visible fire inside the building’s lobby.

Instinct dictated me to call 168 (Makati Command Control & Communication Center Emergency Hotline 168), but all I got was a busy ring tone.

I thought that the next best thing and fastest way to get help was through Twitter. I immediately tagged @TXTFIRE and @MakatiTraffic (Official Twitter Account of the City Government of Makati | Hotline 168 | [email protected]) in this tweet:


Then this is the response I got a couple of minutes later:

I find it rather stupid that they need to verify first if there is indeed an ongoing fire before they dispatch a fire truck or rescue unit.

I find it rather stupid that they need to verify first if there is indeed an ongoing fire before they dispatch a fire truck or rescue unit.


Out of disgust and frustration, this is what I replied to them:


Later that day, I learned from the on-duty DBTI security guards that Brgy. Pio del Pilar personnel did arrived to check if there is a need for Makati Fire Department to send a fire engine. How silly stupid is that?! If the fire continued on that time, that is when they will only call for actual help to arrive (after their own verification)? Precious minutes would had been wasted already.

Do I sound like a prankster asking them to send a fire truck to a prestigious school on a Sunday afternoon? I think they missed to check my Twitter profile and concluded that I was just joking when tweeted them for help.

I hope that since our city has a new mayor, this kind of foolishness will finally be put to an end. How hard it is for the Makati Fire Department to send at least a fire engine? Let’ say, the call was made by a prankster, I understand that the firemen will find themselves in the loosing end — wasting a couple of minutes from their precious time, and wasting a couple of diesel liters in the process. But, what if the call for help was real?

On the other hand, I would like to commend the DBTI security personnel on-duty this afternoon for their quick thinking and presence of mind to extinguish the said electrical fire.

Side Note: Who’s in-charged of the Social Media Team at the City Government of Makati? Perhaps, we can now change @MakatiTraffic to something better (it sounds like we are glorifying the worst traffic situation in the city every time that we tweet)? @MakatiCity is already taken (by someone who sells real estate and condo units — what a shame?!), as well as @MakatiGov (seek the help of Twitter if you may to regain control over these accounts).

Maraming salamat po!

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