How to stay safe over Christmas


If you're holidaying away from home over Christmas, make sure you take a note of your surroundings in case you have an emergency and need to call 111.


Fire, Ambulance and Police say every second counts in an emergency and valuable time can be taken up if people are struggling to describe where to send an emergency response.


"It's important to provide us with enough details so we can get to you as quickly as we can. Stay on the phone and answer all the questions so we can gather the information we need to send the right response," Ambulance Communications Centre National Manager Alan Goudge says.


"It may seem like a lot of questions however this doesn't mean we are delaying getting an ambulance on its way.  We are gathering as much information to continually update our paramedics on the way to the scene. 


"If you are phoning from a landline, the address and phone number of the location you are calling from automatically display on our computer screen - but we still need to confirm that the address you are phoning from is the address of the emergency.  When on holiday people are more likely to use their cellphones, so the process can take longer if people don't know where they are," he says. 


NZ Fire Service Deputy National Commander Paul McGill says fire spreads incredibly fast, so the quicker a fire appliance can get to the scene, the better. 


"Giving a clear, accurate address is vital. And be aware of the fire risks wherever you are over the holidays.  If you do have a fire, get out, stay out and call 111."


Police Communications Centres National Manager Superintendent Andy McGregor says the first thing police ask callers is where they are.


"If you can't give an exact address, then tell us the name of nearby landmark like a church, library, cinema, park, bridge or a geographical feature like a river. With good detail from you, our mapping technology can pinpoint exactly where you are."


Mr McGregor says people can sometimes find it frustrating to be asked a lot of questions in an emergency situation.


"I encourage people to bear with us, because we need that information to make quick decisions on how best to help. At the same time as we're asking for the information, if an emergency response is needed, we're getting staff on their way." 


New Year's Eve is the busiest time of year collectively for emergency services and people are often out of town celebrating. 

 

- Hamilton News

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