News : Hoax Calls Outnumber Genuine Calls
Chennai, India, Nov. 2, 2015 -- More than half the calls received by the 108 Emergency Response Services this year in Tamil Nadu were nuisance calls and wrong, disconnected or silent calls. According to the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project (TNHSP), the 108 Emergency Response Service, a free service that integrates medical, police and fire emergency services, received a total of 41,89,656 calls this year till August.
Of this, 26,31,023 calls (62.79 per cent) were ‘ineffective’; and among them, hoax calls and disconnected ones constituted the majority.
According to Prabhu Doss, marketing head of TN 108 Emergency Response team, hoax calls were predominantly made by three category of people - young children, people under the influence of alcohol and the mentally challenged.
A TNHSP official pointed out that these hoax callers put the lives of others at risk as there might be disturbance in the bandwidth of emergency service lines, delaying assistance to genuine calls. Prabhu Doss added that young children during their holidays tend to use their parents’ mobile phones to make hoax bomb or emergency calls for cheap thrills.
Call centre executives said sometimes the caller begin by remaining silent, but end up with a giggle before disconnecting. Also, people under the influence of alcohol mostly tend to abuse them or attempt to prank them.
The executives are trained to counsel callers, but if the call centre receives more than 10 prank or hoax calls from the same number, the number is temporarily blocked using an indigenous technology, the TNHSP official added.
Not all emergency calls are successful as some might get disconnected halfway through the conversation due to weak signal. However, the call centre executives try to get back on these calls, said Prabhu Doss.
"This is a global phenomenon; any emergency line, including 911 in the US and 999 in the UK, are prone to prank calls. The number of such calls have come down from 71 per cent to 62 per cent due to increased awareness," he added.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About 108 Ambulance Services:
108 is a free telephone number for emergency services in India, currently operational in 17 States ( Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh) and two Union Territories (Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.) The 108 Emergency Response Service is a free emergency service providing integrated medical, police and fire emergency services. The service is a public-private partnership between state governments and private EMS providers. 108 was introduced by Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana for the first time in India. 108 is also functional in Punjab Odisha, Maharashtra, Bihar Kerala. Till November 2014 this service handled 5.4 lakh emergency cases in India.
Published: Tuesday, November 3, 2015