Pranksters putting lives of genuine callers at risk

PETALING JAYA: The public has been told to stop abusing the emergency line as lives are at stake.

Inspector-General of Police Secretariat assistant head (Corporate Communications) Asst Comm Datin Asmawati Ahmad said fake emergency calls were a drain on resources as help was diverted from genuine cases.

“This is a blatant misuse of the system and diverts service away from people who may be in life-threatening situations,” she said.

ACP Asmawati called on parents to educate their children on the purpose of 999 and the consequences of abusing it.

Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Medical Emergency Coordinating Centre received calls from 999 response centres and coordinated the ambulance dispatch from the nearest health facility to the scene.

He said 999 operators, adhering to the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch (United States) standard medical protocol, would categorise calls according to priority and direct the caller on what to do before the ambulance arrived.

“A 999 call made to hospitals usually indicates an emergency medical situation where an ambulance is urgently needed. (Thus) calling for an ambulance for non-emergencies is also an abuse of the service,” he said.

He added that abusing emergency services could delay the arrival of ambulances at real emergencies and this could be fatal.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye called on the relevant authorities to track down those who made fake calls and charge them in court.

“Everybody knows what 999 is but those who lack civic consciousness continue to abuse the system. These people should be jailed,” he said.

MCA Public Service and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said fake 999 calls could result in genuine callers being put on hold for a long time.

“Previously, some genuine callers had complained about being made to wait but it’s unfair to blame 999 operators because the lines were probably clogged up by pranksters,” he said.

“And, the public must understand that when operators ask for details, it is not for fun or to delay assistance. They are trained to ascertain the genuineness of a call and it includes listening to background noises.”

He warned the public against making fake calls because “it could be you needing immediate attention one day”.

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Family & Community , MERS 999 , 112 , emergency


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