Jan

Hoax calls can kill – think before you dial

2015-01-27 14:20
It was a busy period for ER24 and other emergency services over the past Festive Season. These paramedics tried to bring a bit of cheer to the many accident victims they treated by wearing their Christmas hats. It’s all about the ‘Golden Hour’ when saving lives and hoax calls do not help.

While this is not a direct trucking story, the point it highlights is one which can save the lives of your truck drivers – or your family members – in times of emergencies and it is thus FleetWatch is accenting it as vitally important. We refer to hoax calls made to emergency services.

ER24 has urged the public to refrain from making hoax calls as they can put lives in danger and waste precious resources. This follows more than 33 000 hoax calls received by ER24 contact centre agents last year ranging from reports of non-existent collisions to people being in “distress” in remote locations.

Prank Calls ER24 InfographicShockingly, adults are the worst offenders contributing significantly to the number of hoax calls made. Calls received are so realistic that it is only realised once paramedics are sent on a wild-goose chase and find nothing on the so-called “scene”.

Shakira Cassim, ER24 contact centre manager, has urged hoax callers to think about the consequences of their actions. “The risk is so high. Someone having a bit of fun can impact on another person’s life. There are instances, especially over peak periods, where our vehicles are all over attending to real emergencies such as collisions with multiple patients or drowning cases. Attending to a hoax call means we have a vehicle unavailable to attend to someone who is really in need,” she says.

Santi van Heerden, the ER24 contact centre co-ordinator, says hoax calls also impact on the company financially while also wasting resources.

“If we dispatch an ambulance to an incident reported by a hoax caller and we have to service a real emergency in the area while all ambulances are out on calls, we have to either dispatch an ambulance from a different branch or send a service provider. This means loss of income and an impact on resources,” says Van Heerden.

Cassim says although contingency plans are in place, these plans come with extra steps that need to be followed, thereby increasing the time taken to attend to an incident. Time is critical in crash scenarios and it’s all about the ‘Golden Hour’ when paramedics need to speedily attend to patients so as to stabilise them on scene before they are transferred to hospitals.

So before making a hoax call, please consider yourself or a loved one not receiving urgent assistance in a life-threatening situation because of your ‘fun’ call. Parents are also advised to teach children about the danger of making hoax calls.

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