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One in seven 000 calls not answered?

By johnboy - 16 July 2009 33

Brendan Smyth is jumping up and down about some figures, from some where, which apparently show only 86.58% of triple zero get answered on the first call.

As Brendan isn’t getting hot and bothered about a lack of police or fire services we can perhaps deduce this applies only to requests for an ambulance.

Is this the service level you’d expect?

Triple Zero calls

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33 Responses to
One in seven 000 calls not answered?
laughtong 6:44 pm 16 Jul 09

Related to this – my husband works as a Care Worker assisting frail elderly in their own homes. One day a couple of weeks ago he arrives to find his client had fallen in her driveway, and broken her hip while attempting to collect her newspaper. Suburban Canberra. Very cold morning and this client is 90 years old. All that could be done was to cover her in blankets until the ambulance got there.

An ambulance had already been called by a neighbor, but it took a couple of follow-up calls and more than 30 minutes after he got there, before an ambulance finally arrived.

This is bad enough but what if it had really been time critical!

Spam Box 5:39 pm 16 Jul 09

It would be interesting to know what the percentage of “failed to answer” calls occur from when a large number of people all ring at the same time about the same emergency.

A fire, a heavy accident etc and I can see 20+ calls hitting 000 all within a few minutes.

Even something less major could attract 5-10 inside a minute.(The operators would still be online with the original callers gathering info etc)

Just asking

Ozi 2:14 pm 16 Jul 09

ant said :

If someone’s calling 000, Ozi, I’d expect it to be something pretty serious, like someone dying in front of you. I’d imagine that anyone calling 000 is in a situation that could be described as “emotive”. What other example could one use?

000 is for life or death situations, AKA “emergencies”.

Well yes, in a perfect world “anyone calling 000” would be doing so in an emergency.
However, for your reading pleasure: http://archive.audit.vic.gov.au/old/sr53/ags5309.htm

Of special note are the following points:

9.24 The National Emergency Call-taking Working Group, in its January 1997 submission to a Senate Committee on the Telecommunications Bills Inquiry, stated “only one tenth of these [the estimated 10 million calls to 000] are referred to the emergency service organisations”. BEST advised audit that the equivalent proportion of genuine calls in Victoria is likely to be higher at around 25 per cent of calls.

9.25 Of the estimated 9 million national non-emergency calls received through 000, approximately half or 4.5 million calls are considered to be due to accidental mis-dialling arising from the above-mentioned inherent problem associated with the use of 000. The remaining 4.5 million non-emergency calls have been attributed to nuisance or hoax calls.

As you can see, somewhere between 10% and 25% of calls to 000 are actually referred on to emergency services. The remaining 75% to 90% are misdialed calls, hoax calls or due to the “use of 3 zero digits for the national number which gives rise to a high incidence of accidental mis-dialling of other frequently used numbers prefixed by the digits 0 and 00.”

As someone who works in the emergency services, I have seen first hand how often the number is misused, either intentionally or accidentally.

I completely and totally believe that every genuine 000 call should be answered promptly and efficiently. But ant your view that every call to 000 is genuine is either misinformed or hopelessly naïve.

Grail 1:59 pm 16 Jul 09

I’d like to see more information on this issue – which part of the call is the problem – is it that the call is not answered, or that the call does not connect? or that the call is transferred to the respective authority but then not handled?

I could imagine the “1 in 7” number to be quite reasonable if this includes calls that people tried to place by mobile phone but either didn’t connect or dropped out due to poor coverage. It would be quite another issue of the call was routed to the ambulance service but not processed. In the middle is the 000 call centre not having enough resources to handle all the incoming calls from the region it’s servicing.

Thumper 12:31 pm 16 Jul 09

Sorry, stuffed my italics

Thumper 12:31 pm 16 Jul 09

<ISecondly, there are a number of issues as to why some calls aren’t answered, and ACTAS should not be held responsible for short staffing of Telstra ‘000? lines, or people misusing and abusing the ‘000? service.

That is correct, but given the current climate regarding government funding to ACTAS surely there this is something that needs following up?

Telstra or not, it makes no difference when someone is bleeding out in front of you.

ant 12:28 pm 16 Jul 09

If someone’s calling 000, Ozi, I’d expect it to be something pretty serious, like someone dying in front of you. I’d imagine that anyone calling 000 is in a situation that could be described as “emotive”. What other example could one use?

000 is for life or death situations, AKA “emergencies”.

Ozi 12:24 pm 16 Jul 09

ant said :

I’m puzzled that people are voting “6 out of 7 isn’t bad”.

So, your mother or your kid is lying on the floor dying, and your call is the one that isn’t answered, that’s OK is it? Seriously?

Obviously with such a blatantly emotive example, there can only be one answer; no, it’s not OK for that call to go unanswered. However, this issue is a little more complex than everyone’s favourite conservative Liberal MP would have us believe.

For one thing, he is bashing ACTAS over the ‘000’ issue when in fact it is Telstra who take the ‘000’ calls first up before diverting them through to the ACTAS Operations Room, from whence (yes, I used ‘whence,’ people) they are dispatched to Ambulances. Now he may mean that it is ACTAS who only answer 6 out of every 7 calls sent to them by Telstra, but this is IN NO WAY made clear by his little media release/rant.

Secondly, there are a number of issues as to why some calls aren’t answered, and ACTAS should not be held responsible for short staffing of Telstra ‘000’ lines, or people misusing and abusing the ‘000’ service.

Either way, it’s not quite as black and white an issue as your post may have us all believe.

Thumper 12:20 pm 16 Jul 09

This is bizarre. rather than question if the government has got this right people are suggesting Smyth is barking up the wrong tree? (Which of course, is entirely possible)

However, the issue here is whether or not the calls are actually getting through.

SheepGroper 12:19 pm 16 Jul 09

ant said :

I’m puzzled that people are voting “6 out of 7 isn’t bad”.

So, your mother or your kid is lying on the floor dying, and your call is the one that isn’t answered, that’s OK is it? Seriously?

I’d hang up and try again. Mind you, if they were in extremis it’s probably too late even if the first call got through.

DarkLadyWolfMother 12:18 pm 16 Jul 09

Don’t worry ant, it always happens to someone else.

Right?

ant 12:04 pm 16 Jul 09

I’m puzzled that people are voting “6 out of 7 isn’t bad”.

So, your mother or your kid is lying on the floor dying, and your call is the one that isn’t answered, that’s OK is it? Seriously?

Ozi 11:00 am 16 Jul 09

All 000 calls are answered first by Telstra, then routed through to the appropriate state/territory and emergency service. The great majority of 000 calls are hoaxes, wrong numbers, misuse of the service (“Hi there, I think I saw a strange looking man in my neighborhood last week…”) or are made by kids playing around with the home phone.

Brendan Smyth would do better to focus on the volume of incorrect 000 calls, not the fact that sometimes, they aren’t answered straight away.

On a personal note, the 4 or 5 times that I’ve used the service it has been ruthlessly efficient and very quickly connected me to the correct state emergency service.

johnboy 10:51 am 16 Jul 09

Spam Box said :

Only one in seven?

Whoops, thanks, fixed now.

Spam Box 10:49 am 16 Jul 09

Only one in seven?

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