In the United States you dial 911 in an emergency. In the United Kingdom it’s 999. In Australia one dials 000 for the emergency services – if you can get through.
But no matter where you are in the world, if you have a cellphone (mobile phone) and are within sight of a phone tower, you can get emergency help by dialing 112.
And in Australia, there is a bit of controversy at the moment because the 000 or “Triple-0” emergency phone lines are often busy with crank phone calls or from just stupid callers who ask for help when it is not an emergency.
Yesterday the Daily Telegraph newspaper in Sydney reported that 8.8 million Triple-0 calls were received between July last year and June this year, but only 3.5 million were genuine emergencies. The rest were non-emergency calls, either pranks or just calls from people who didn’t know what a real emergency is.
Other statistics show that only 41 percent of the calls from cell phones (mobile phones) to Triple-0 were genuine. Fifty-nine percent were not.
A Sydney fire station recently put up a sign telling the public they should dial 112 instead, but they were told to take down the message.
And now there are suggestions that the mobile 112 emergency number for cellphones should be made accessable from fixed telephone lines as well.
Whether 000 or 112 is best remains to be seen, but Lifesaving and paramedic courses promote 112 as a more reliable number than Triple-0 and others say that dialling 112 from mobile phones lets callers “jump the queue” at the emergency call center.
Australian government bureaucrats at state and federal levels have already mulled over the possibility of allowing 112 calls to be made from fixed phone lines. Also, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) has suggested ways to upgrade the emergency telephone system and maybe even provide Australians with an emergency SMS number.
The current telephone technology is still controlled by Telstra.
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