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Public Administration News  
Australian Government Launches Emergency Smartphone App
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: Australia
Created: Jan 28, 2014

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan launched the Emergency+ app last month that allows users to give emergency call operators their exact location by longitude and latitude.


According to Australian Federal Police, over 66 per cent of callers to emergency numbers are from mobile phones. Many callers are unable to tell officers their exact location.


Moreover, many people use the Triple Zero (000) number when they should really be calling other numbers, such as the Police Assistance Line (131444) the State Emergency Service (132500), Crime Stoppers (1800 333 000), the National Relay Service (106) and Health Direct Australia (1800 022 222).


ACT Policing Operations reports that approximately half of the average 2200 calls they receive per month to the Triple Zero number should have been for other services.


The smartphone app aims to better guide citizens on the number to call based on the situation they are in and what they want to report.


Moreover, when a caller is on the line with an emergency call operator and is not aware of his/her exact location, the operator can guide the user to the app where the latitude and longitude coordinates are displayed.


Currently, the caller has to read out the coordinates to the operator. Moving forward, the authority plans to enhance the app so that the coordinates are automatically sent to the emergency call operator once the caller dials from the app.


The app, available for free on GooglePlay and AppStore, was developed by Fire & Rescue New South Wales and the Triple Zero Awareness Working Group a national body that represents emergency call-taking agencies and their government and industry partners throughout Australia.

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