Ballito, South Africa, Dec 11, 2019 -- Trying to figure out the best number to dial in a crisis is no easy task.
In the event of an emergency or any other traumatic situation, the last thing you need is to worry about is a call failure or trying to remember the conditions of various response numbers.
In an emergency in the US you dial 911, in the UK 999, in Europe 112. It’s a free call from any landline or mobile phone.
The operators then direct the caller to the best emergency service available.
However, the situation locally is confusing, to put it mildly. With so many emergency numbers to choose from and simply a lack of co-ordination between the various services, the choices become tricky when you are facing a life-threatening situation.
The government lists 20 different important contact numbers on its website that it advises you to keep on your fridge or next to the telephone in case of an emergency.
Why are there are so many different emergency numbers?
What happens if you are in a dire situation and call the wrong number?
And why is calling 10111, arguably the most well-known emergency number, not free from a cellphone?
While dialing an emergency number should be a quick and clear process this is not the case with our local numbers.
The Courier decided to put some of these emergency numbers to the test, to figure out exactly who to call when the worst happens.
Ballito UIP emergency number: 086 111 1588.
This number passed our test.
It was answered after three rings and the operator was efficient and helpful.
He told us they respond specifically to security-related emergencies in the UIP’s precinct which covers Ballito Business Park and surrounding commercial properties, Ballito Drive, Compensation Road, the boardwalk and adjacent beach.
The operator said they will send their emergency services vehicle should the situation require it.
The number operates 24 hours and is specifically for security-related issues.
Umhlali SAPS: 032-947 9900.
The number was answered after two rings.
However, this is a switchboard number so we were transferred to another line where the officer on the other side was able to assist us.
Be advised that due to a critical shortage of police vehicles they may not able to send someone to attend to your emergency immediately.
KDM Fire and Emergency Services: 032 946 2711/3188
This number was a hit and miss.
It was busy no matter how often it was dialed over a course of several days.
But we got lucky on one of the days where it was answered by a friendly and efficient operator.
If only that was the case in all of our attempts.
The second number took us an automated answering service that informed us this was an after-hours number.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, December 12, 2019
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