Emergency SMSTopic: Industry News
A reform currently being pushed by state governments, phone companies and consumer groups alike would enable Australians to text message triple-0 in emergency situations. At present, the triple-0 emergency service is only available via phone call. Adding SMS capability to the service could be very useful in the event of burglaries, domestic violence, home invasion and other circumstances where the traditional phone call may actually exacerbate the danger by drawing attention to the victim.
Picture messaging or video call options could also be introduced to reduce response delays by allowing people to send useful information to emergency personnel, like the colour of smoke at a fire. A national working group including emergency service organisations and the major telcos recently began investigating the introduction of text to triple-0 service. According to recent reports, in its submission, Vodafone says that triple-0 “can no longer be a passive service limited to only one communication medium.”The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network noted that it was “concerned that the current voice-only service is not capable of handling requests in those situations when it is not safe for the caller to make a voice call”.The Victorian government argued that “the current triple-0 service arrangement is not adequate for present and future needs, given changing technologies, changing community expectations, and the opportunities that new technologies present.”The NSW government argues that moving away from a voice-only system would increase public safety and improve response times. But it notes the transition would have to be carefully managed. On the other hand, the option to text emergency services could increase the risk of hoaxing and make determining the location of the emergency more difficult, according to Telstra. It’s definitely a discussion we’ll be keeping our eyes on, let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!
[Please note this article was written in 2015, some information may not be up to date]