* * *
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Shoigu, I would like to once again congratulate you on Rescuers’ Day and the Ministry’s 20th anniversary, as well as the presentation of the banner, because this is certainly a very important ceremony for the entire ministry.
I want to discuss some current issues. In my year-end review, I already spoke about the Emergencies Ministry’s contribution to overcoming this summer’s natural disasters, but now, we need to think about the future. One of the areas of development for the Emergencies Ministry and our nation’s Rescue Service in general is creating a single telephone number for emergency calls, a so-called urgent operational services system, or system −112.
I have signed an Executive Order aimed at improving this system of handling calls placed to emergency operational services by introducing a single emergency number – 112. Your Ministry will be responsible for coordinating all of this work. In other words, everything being done by federal and executive authorities, as well as regional executive authorities, must be coordinated by the Emergencies Ministry. A dedicated channel will be needed for this, but that is the Communications Ministry’s job. Yet, the overall management of these issues will be entrusted to the Emergencies Ministry, so it is up to you to ensure that all of these capabilities come together.
I hope that this work will be well organised since the creation of hotlines for regional executive authorities’ emergency services and adoption of regulations for the development and operation of our national 112 emergency calls system should be completed by December 31, 2012. So please get to work. I believe this is a new area, a modern, civilised approach, similar to how this is organised throughout the world. You have great colleagues abroad, with whom you also have good relations, so perhaps you can discuss some of these issues with them as well, as you see fit, in order to make use of their experiences.
Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Sergei Shoigu: Thank you, Mr President. This Executive Order is very necessary today, as is this service, because nearly all of Europe is using this telephone number. Nations that recently joined the European Union have also been trying to transfer to the 112-telephone system. Some have been more successful with it, some less. But in our nation, we have begun to introduce single dispatcher hotlines in the regions.
Dmitry Medvedev: Are they currently working in test mode?
Sergei Shoigu: Yes. We have them running in test mode in Kursk Region and Tatarstan.
Dmitry Medvedev: And does that mean that we can use 112 there?
Sergei Shoigu: Yes. Furthermore, if this is now an Executive Order, then the decisions to be made will be binding. Historically, it has been difficult for us to make changes, but naturally, with an Executive Order, it will be easier, faster and – most importantly – the work will be more efficient.
Dmitry Medvedev: I am counting on your experience – as a cutting-edge and well-equipped service – to be helpful for other agencies and ministries, in order to joint them within a single channel. That is why I have made the Emergencies Ministry responsible for coordinating this.
Sergei Shoigu: Thank you, Mr President.
Dmitry Medvedev: Go ahead and get to work.