Prank calls stop paramedics from saving lives
THE life-saving efforts of Ambulance service paramedics continue to be hamstrung by hoax calls, which have totalled 152 so far this year in NSW.
The calls include a child in the state's north who last month claimed both his parents had been shot.
The call took three ambulances off the road for up to 40 minutes.
NSW Ambulance Control Division Director Jamie Vernon said hoax or non-genuine calls were a severe drain on resources, especially where it required a multi-agency response.
"While a paramedic crew responds to a hoax situation, there may be someone genuinely in need of urgent medical attention, and they might have to wait, which could potentially cost someone their life," Mr Vernon said.
He said paramedics responded to a 000 call every 23 seconds across the state and the detention of multiple ambulance crews at hoax calls for upwards of 40 minutes was a serious concern.
From January to December last year, NSW Ambulance received 531 calls classified as hoax/non-genuine.
From January to April this year, the tally was 152 calls.
Northern NSW had 192 in 2012 and 44 between January and April.
People caught making vexatious calls face a maximum penalty of three years jail or fines of up to $30,600.
THE SHAME FILE
- 531 - number of hoax/non-genuine calls received by NSW Ambulance in 2012
- 115 - people found guilty of making a false call to an emergency service number since 2010
- 734,663 - calls received by Telstra Triple Zero nationally, in March 2013, of which 235,176 calls
Northern region hoax calls.
January 1 - A 27year-old male 'has been' stabbed. One ambulance crew detained 15 minutes.
April 12 - Reports a mother and father had been shot.
Ambulance held off while police inspect the scene.
In this instance three ambulance crews were detained for 35 minutes.