Ques­tions may frus­trate but help still on the way

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

If you’re hol­i­day­ing away from home over Christ­mas, make sure you take a note of your sur­round­ings in case you have an emer­gency and need to call 111. Fire, Am­bu­lance and Po­lice say ev­ery sec­ond counts in an emer­gency, and valu­able time can be taken up if peo­ple are strug­gling to de­scribe where to send an emer­gency re­sponse.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant to pro­vide us with enough de­tails so we can get to you as quickly as we can. Stay on the phone and an­swer all the ques­tions so we can gather the in­for­ma­tion we need to send the right re­sponse,’’ Am­bu­lance Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­tre na­tional man­ager Alan Goudge said.

‘‘It may seem like a lot of ques­tions. How­ever, this doesn’t mean we are de­lay­ing get­ting an am­bu­lance on its way.

‘‘We are gath­er­ing as much in­for­ma­tion to con­tin­u­ally up­date our paramedics on the way to the scene.

‘‘If you are phon­ing from a lan­d­line, the ad­dress and phone num­ber of the lo­ca­tion you are call­ing from au­to­mat­i­cally dis­play on our com­puter screen – but we still need to con­firm that the ad­dress you are phon­ing from is the ad­dress of the emer­gency.’’

On hol­i­day, peo­ple are more likely to use their cell­phones, so the process can take longer if peo­ple don’t know where they are.

New Zealand Fire Ser­vice deputy na­tional com­man­der Paul McGill said fire spreads in­cred­i­bly fast, so the quicker a fire ap­pli­ance can get to the scene, the bet­ter.

‘‘Giv­ing a clear, ac­cu­rate ad­dress is vi­tal. And be aware of the fire risks wher­ever you are over the hol­i­days. If you do have a fire, get out, stay out and call 111.’’

Po­lice Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­tres na­tional man­ager su­per­in­ten­dent Andy McGre­gor said the first thing po­lice ask call­ers is where they are.

‘‘If you can’t give an ex­act ad­dress, then tell us the name of nearby land­mark like a church, li­brary, cin­ema, park, bridge or a ge­o­graph­i­cal fea­ture like a river. With good de­tail from you, our map­ping tech­nol­ogy can pin­point ex­actly where you are.’’

Mr McGre­gor said peo­ple can find it frus­trat­ing to be asked a lot of ques­tions in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘I en­cour­age peo­ple to bear with us, be­cause we need that in­for­ma­tion . . . At the same time as we’re ask­ing for the in­for­ma­tion, if an emer­gency re­sponse is needed, we’re get­ting staff on their way.’’

Emer­gency Ser­vices wish you a safe and happy hol­i­day.

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