Ever wondered why you can’t reach ambulance services in the most crucial moments?
According to Delhi’s centralised accident and trauma services (CATS), it’s because the lines are usually choked with crank calls made by miscreants.
Data for more than 30 days until August 22 showed that nearly 96% of over 2.64 lakh calls made to the ambulance control room were categorised as missed (called accidentally), blank (nobody speaks) or crank (deliberately malicious) calls. Only a little over 2% pertained to medical emergencies and enquiries, while another 2% were ‘department calls’ (made from other centres).
“When we receive blank or missed calls, we ring them back to check if the person is in need. People usually ascribe such instances to pocket-dialling, children playing with their phones, or the number being wrongly saved as customer care,” an official said.
He admitted that some of the calls may have been listed under wrong heads because the operators were still learning to categorise them. “However, fact remains that a very, very small proportion of the calls we received pertained to actual emergencies,” he said.
On some days, operators received up to 150 missed or blank calls from a single number.
A new GPS-enabled system launched in July helps identify bogus alerts, besides tagging the location of genuine callers and promptly dispatching the nearest ambulance to their area. By sharing the phone number of the caller with the driver and vice versa, it also scores high on convenience.
The Call 102 app , on the other hand, allows the caller to track the progress of ambulances after booking them.
“The number of crank calls may have been the same earlier, but we had no way of determining it in the absence of data. The new system allows us to collate information and identify the problem,” said another official.