Emergency caller location system saves lives in NZ

Monday, 10 July, 2017

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Lives have already been saved by a new system for 111 emergency mobile phone calls in New Zealand.

The system provides emergency services with the probable location of the caller when they make contact via a mobile phone.

“The new system has been vital in helping to identify the location of callers in instances where the caller hasn’t been able to speak, where the call has been cut off before the operator could get more information about the caller’s location or where the caller doesn’t know their exact whereabouts,” said Police Minister Paula Bennett.

“The system has been used to get help to an injured person on a farm, a motorcycle crash victim, people who are distressed or potentially suicidal, people experiencing family violence, a person who had spotted a fire in a rural area and people experiencing medical emergencies.”

Since the system was introduced, more than 145,000 genuine 111 calls have been made to emergency services. Around 20% of these calls involved operators using the system to help them get more accurate information about a caller’s location.

In one case, NZ Police received a 111 ‘hang-up’ call from a distressed woman. The call was disconnected before she could provide her location. Using the system, police were able to identify her location and respond accordingly. The woman had been involved in a family harm incident, and police were able to take the appropriate action.

In another incident, Fire and Emergency New Zealand received a call from a man who had seen a fire while he was driving along a rural highway. The caller did not know his precise location on the highway. Using the system, Fire and Emergency New Zealand was able to locate the caller and the fire, and dispatch crew to put the fire out.

However, while the new system provides a critical tool to help identify the probable location of 111 callers from mobile phones, it is still important for callers to tell emergency services operators where they are.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/miq1969

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