Publiek gewaarsku teen die maak van vals noodoproepe!

Vals oproep mors hulpbronne – Vier noodvoertuie en ‘n polisievoertuig is vanoggend verniet uitgestuur nadat ‘n vals noodoproep ontvang is.

Volgens die oproep was ‘n vragmotor en ‘n motor in ‘n botsing in die De Rust-omgewing betrokke. Geen botsing kon egter opgespoor word nie.

Die beheerkamer het die nommer teruggeskakel, maar die vrou wat geantwoord het, het gesê sy weet nie wie die oproep gemaak het nie.

[Oudtshoorn Courant]

This threat to safety is not new – we would like to share correspondence from ER24 as long back as 2012!

ER24 | Zero Tolerance for Emergency Call Pranksters
03 April 2012 | Road Safety in the Media

3 April 2012

It is during public- and school holidays that ER24 receives numerous prank callers. Statistics from 2011 have shown that the ER24 084124 Emergency Contact Centre answered an excess of 700 prank callers on the national emergency line during school- and public holidays. Recently we received over 300 prank calls from one caller, only known as Nicholas.

In general pranksters phone the 084 124 emergency line and either swear at the Emergency Call Takers or play practical jokes over the phone, some of the pranksters only breath into the microphone on the other end of the line.
The prank calls range from annoying hang-ups to outright false calls or bomb threats. In most countries prank calls to emergency services or emergency lines are considered a criminal offence.

In majority of the cases prank callers are registered on a register with as much detail as possible. When we have enough information from the Caller Line Identity System we flag the number. Once the number appears on the prank caller register the call taker alerts the floor supervisor and the voice recording is flagged for further investigation. We have to treat every single call as a real emergency and resources must be dispatched if an address is given.

According to our voice recording and dispatch system some pranksters continue to phone the 084 124 emergency line up to 16 times per day. As an emergency line we cannot block the numbers in case the person has a real emergency which we have to act upon. However, each time a call is identified as a prank call, the caller’s telephone number is sent for follow up and the call is investigated according to internal policies. Once the investigation proves that the caller is a prankster, the telephone number and other relevant information will be handed over to the South African Police Service where the prankster will possibly face serious charges.

One prank caller in particular keeps on phoning the emergency line to report a friend that had a heart attack. Each time the Emergency Medical Dispatcher treats the call as a real emergency when accurate details are given and an ambulance along with a rapid response vehicle is then sent to the location. However, every time an emergency vehicle arrives on the scene, there is no one at the address or it is an abandoned building.

A majority of the calls placed are from children laughing in the background or trying to sound like an adult. Once the Emergency Call Taker start to engage with the caller to enquire about medical information on the scene, the child either hangs up or starts laughing. In one particular case the Emergency Call Taker asked the child if there is an adult close by and the child handed the phone to his mother. The mother was shocked when she heard that the call taker was from ER24 and her child phoned the emergency line to fool around and she apologised profusely. Needless to say the child phoned multiple times afterwards.

ER24 takes all of its emergency calls seriously and our aim is to provide fast and efficient emergency medical care. Pranksters clogging up emergency lines will be dealt with in a serious matter.

Werner Vermaak
ER24 Communications Manager

Posted on by jonckie

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