000 emergency

000 emergency

000 (also known as "triple-zero" or "triple-O") is the primary national emergency number in Australia. [cite web|url=http://triplezero.gov.au|title=Triple Zero home page|publisher=Australian Government|accessdate=2007-11-19] The Emergency Call Service is operated by Telstra Corporation Limited as a condition of its telecommunications license, and is intended only for use in life-threatening or time-critical emergencies. Other emergency numbers in Australia are 112 for GSM mobile phones — which is redirected to a 000 operator — and 106 for textphones.


Prior to 1969, Australia had no national number for emergency services; the police, fire and ambulance services possessed many phone numbers, one for each local unit. In 1961, the office of the Postmaster General (PMG) introduced the 000 number in major population centres and near the end of the 1980s extended its coverage to nationwide. The number 000 was chosen for several reasons, one of which was that zero was closest to the finger stall on Australian pulse dial phones, so it was easy to dial in darkness. [cite web|url=http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_100580|title=History of the Emergency Call Services|publisher=ACMA|date=2007-08-27|accessdate=2007-11-19]

911 was previously considered as a potential emergency number, though existing numbering arrangements make this unfeasible due to homes and businesses being assigned numbers beginning with 911.cite web|url=http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_1695#911|title=Emergency Call Services: Frequently Asked Questions. Can I call 911 in a life or property threatening time critical situation?|publisher=Australian Communications and Media Authority|accessdate=2008-08-27]

Calling 000

Calling 000 connects the caller to a Telstra Emergency Call service centre operator who will then connect the caller to the emergency service operator. Telstra operators do not take any details or dispatch services. Telstra operators ask "Police, Fire, Ambulance?". If calling from a mobile phone, the Telstra operator will ask the caller's city and state. The caller is then connected to the local communications centre for the emergency service they requested. As soon as the emergency service operator takes the call, the job information is transferred to the emergency service and the Telstra operator will state the "job number" over the line. The emergency service operator will then take the details required to dispatch the emergency service.

The caller's address is usually available to emergency operators in Australia even if the number is "private". However, operators always ask for the address of the emergency to be stated and disregard the displayed address whenever possible to ensure an accurate location is provided. [cite web|url=http://www.esta.vic.gov.au/?id=71|title=ESTA Frequently Asked Questions|publisher=Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (Victoria)|accessdate=2007-11-19]

000 is a free call anytime anywhere within Australia. Dialing 000 (or 112) on most Australian GSM mobile phones will override any keypad lock, and may work even when out of range of the caller's home network (the phone will attempt to use other networks, if available, to make the call). Interpreter services are available to callers in many different languages 24 hours a day.

Some 3G or GSM mobile phones sold in Australia will redirect other emergency numbers, such as 9-1-1 and 9-9-9, to 000, due to special configuration in their firmware.



As the Australian Communications and Media Authority does not regard State Emergency Service (SES) calls as life-threatening, the 000 number does not allow them to be contacted. Asking for the SES prompts a recorded announcement explaining how to proceed.

2003 overload in Melbourne

On 3 December 2003 floods and storms in Melbourne caused a large influx of 000 calls preventing some calls from being answered immediately. This caused some users interviewed by authorities to believe that they had dialled the wrong number. A subsequent investigation recommended that a recorded announcement be set up to assure callers that their calls were being connected. [cite web|url=http://www.acma.gov.au/acmainterwr/consumer_info/final_000_report.pdf|title=Telstra’s handling of calls to 000 on the morning of 3 December 2003|publisher=ACMA|month=February | year=2004|accessdate=2007-11-19|format=PDF (page 9)] Callers to the triple-zero service are now usually answered within 5 seconds and greeted by a recorded message which states, "You have dialled emergency triple-zero. Your call is being connected.". [cite web|url=http://www.acma.gov.au/acmainterwr/consumer_info/000.wav|title=Five-second recorded announcement (WAV)|publisher=ACMA|accessdate=2007-11-19]

"Triple Zero"

Emergency services prefer the phrase "triple zero" over "triple O" because of confusion and misunderstanding over the number.

ee also

* 111 Emergency phone number in New Zealand.
* 112 Emergency phone number across the European Union and on GSM mobile networks across the world.
* 119 Emergency phone number in parts of East Asia.
* 911 Emergency phone number in US and Canada.
* 999 Old emergency phone number in Ireland, Poland and United Kingdom (where it works parallel to 112). Also an emergency number in several non-EU countries.

* Emergency telephone
* Emergency telephone number
* In case of emergency (ICE) entry in the mobile phone book.


External links

* [http://www.triplezero.gov.au/ Australian Disaster Information Network: Triple Zero (000) - Australia's Emergency Call Service]
* [http://www.acma.gov.au/emergencycalls Australian Communications and Media Authority: Emergency Calls Service information]
* [http://www.esta.vic.gov.au Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (VIC)]

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