Communication officer Sulekha received a call on emergency ambulance number 108 from Gulbarga. The caller said he had witnessed an accident involving two vehicles in which two people were severely injured. When Sulekha asked for a reference contact number, the caller gave one that never existed. She immediately realised that the call was not genuine and warned him not to misuse the emergency number as it could lead to loss of attending to real emergency situations.
Sulekha also told him that the police would be intimated about the call if the information is found to be false. He immediately admitted that he was playing a prank and that he would not repeat it. A total of two precious minutes was wasted on this prank call.
On an average, the GVK EMRI 108 Service receives more than 22,000 calls a day. However, not all of them are emergency calls. In fact, about 25% to 27% of such calls are ineffective (nuisance calls, prank calls, abusive calls and calls by kids).
According to the DV Badrinath, chief operating officer, “In case of a nuisance call, the person does not provide true details as he calls for fun and with a motive to create trouble, while prank calls give false information about an emergency. In abusive calls, the caller responds to the communication officer in foul language. Child calls are those where kids call without any emergency.”
In the last 10-12 months, such ineffective calls have gradually increased from 14% in March 2010 to 25% of total calls in January 2011.
During this month (February 1 — February 13, 2011), one caller has made more than 1270 calls, while five callers averaged more than 870 calls.
Badrinath said that about 25% of total calls are ineffective and the time spent on handling such calls on an average varies between 15 to 90 seconds. This results in genuine callers having to wait for a response from 108 service. This scenario can result in loss of precious time for the caller during an emergency.
Badrinath said that GVK EMRI has decided to initiate action against such nuisance callers. As calls can be tracked, frequent nuisance callers’ numbers have been handed over to the authorities concerned for further action.
He also said that till date GVK EMRI Karnataka has received more than 197.86 lakh calls and reached more than 10.06 lakh lives.