Emergency Caller No Response Feature - 55

One Australian version of a factually dubious email forward featuring "Lauren" and the fake unmarked police car has the following advice tacked onto the message.

If you are unable to speak when you dial 000 just press 55 and they will ring back to check it is a genuine call if you haven't spoken after they have asked you 3 times. They may also send out a police car to the address with that phone number.

Although the full "Laren" message is potentially misleading and inaccurate, the information about "55" is basically factual. When you call 000 (the Australian emergency number), the operator will ask which service you require, Police, Fire or Ambulance. The "Caller No Response" feature allows callers who cannot speak to key in "55" to gain further help:

Information on the ACMA website explains:

A Caller No Response (CNR) initiative designed to help genuine callers to the 000 emergency service receive a faster response has been introduced. All calls where the caller does not respond to the operator's question: "Emergency. Police? Fire? Ambulance?" are directed to an interactive voice response (IVR) unit. The caller will be asked this question three times. All callers directed to the IVR unit are asked to press 55 if they cannot speak and require emergency assistance.

Those who press 55 are connected quickly to the police by the emergency call service operator. As a safety mechanism, the police will attempt to call back all such callers who press 55. If appropriate, the police may also dispatch a patrol car to the caller's address. If a caller does not press 55 after three requests from the operator, the call is disconnected.

The CNR process limits the number of non-genuine calls that would otherwise be forwarded to police and divert police resources from responding to genuine emergencies.

Thus, so long as you are calling from within Australia and are able to press 55, the police will attempt to provide assistance even if you cannot speak to the operator.

posted by Brett Christensen @ 1:41 PM,

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