Lives on the line
BUNDABERG emergency services have pleaded with residents to stop risking lives by making Triple-0 calls for trivial matters.
Queensland Ambulance Service Bundaberg group co-ordinator Rick Tenthy said among the reasons listed for “emergency calls” were mosquito bites, hangovers and “feeling lonely”.
He said communications operators were frustrated at wasting precious time on minor calls that could stop people with real emergencies getting through.
“The majority of calls we receive are for minor things that do not require an ambulance,” Mr Tenthy said.
Mr Tenthy said calls that were not an emergency could put lives at risk.
Often these calls were an attempt to get fast medical attention for minor ailments.
“Some people seem to believe that if you go to hospital in an ambulance, you will skip to the head of the queue, whereas that is not the case,” he said.
“Patients are triaged and seen according to medical priority,” he said.
His comments came a day after pilots and a paramedic wasted two hours on board the AGL Action Rescue helicopter, searching for an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) that was accidentally set off in Burnett Heads on Sunday.
“It takes away our ability to respond to the community,” he said.
Bundaberg Police said they had received emergency calls from people asking about getting a driver’s licence, complaining about Telstra’s telephone service, and reporting damage done to a car two days previously.
“If it’s a deliberately misleading call, it is a criminal act and we do prosecute,” Senior Sergeant Erwin Hoffman said.
“People should only call Triple-0 if there is a life-threatening situation like a serious car crash or a crime in progress.”
Queensland Fire and Rescue Bundaberg station officer Andrew McCracken said nuisance calls seemed to peak in school holiday periods.
“We pass on details to police to aid with prosecution,” he said.