In an emergency, we know what to do – dial triple-0. The national emergency hotline is the best way to raise an alarm and have the fire service, police or an ambulance dispatched with haste and now smartphone apps can help us provide more precise information and notify our loved ones when we make the call.

The advice from the Federal Government is to call triple-0 if “someone is seriously injured and in need of urgent help, your life or property is being threatened or you have just witnessed a serious accident or crime”.

The person on the other end of the line will need some specific details from you. The emergency workers need to know where to come. You might be at an address you know well but what if you’re on the highway or at a party someone else drove to?

Australia’s Triple Zero Awareness Group has developed a smartphone app to help.

The Emergency + app is available on iOS, Android and Windows and helps callers in three key ways:

  • You can dial triple-0 directly from the app
  • You can also contact the SES and the non-urgent police line
  • It uses your phone’s location services to provide your GPS coordinates and address.

The free app also has contact numbers for Crime Stoppers, the national Health Direct line where you can talk to a registered nurse and is connected to the National Relay Service for people with a hearing or speech impairment.

App can notify loved ones

Another free app is Emergency Call . It has similar features in that you can dial triple-0 direct from the app and reach out to other services including the Poison Information Hotline.

This app also allows users to program in two emergency contacts. Users nominate contacts from their phone to be saved as emergency contacts within the app. If the app is used to dial triple-0 those contacts will get a notification.

This might be useful if you have a loved one who needs care or a teenager who spends time at home alone.

If you make yourself an emergency contact and they use Emergency Call to seek urgent assistance, you will received a text message-based notification.

Did you know?

There are two other emergency hotlines in Australia.

Information published by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) says there are two “secondary emergency service numbers that only work with particular technologies”.

They are:

  •  112 is the GSM international standard emergency number which can only be dialled on a digital mobile phone
  •  106 is the text-based emergency number for people who are deaf, or who have a hearing or speech impairment. This service operates using a textphone (TTY) or a computer with internet access.

“If a situation is not urgent but does need the attention of an emergency service organisation, you should obtain the number of your local police, fire or ambulance service from the phone book or by calling directory assistance,” ACMA published.

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