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How to text Triple 0 if you’re not in a position to speak

What to do in a scenario where you are in immediate danger, but can’t open your mouth to call anyone about it? We’ve got all the details here.

Earlier this week a story about a terrified Port Lincoln teenager texting her mother about a home intruder raised South Aussies awareness of needing emergency numbers on hand. 

The quick-thinking teen raised the alarm about the intruder in her bedroom via text, knowing she would alert the intruder if she called for help. 

The text chain which was sent at 4:27 am read: 

“Mum wake up please

Someone’s in our house

Please mum wake up

He’s upstairs

I can’t call anyone he’ll hear me

Wake up”

Naturally, people were impressed, with the teens dad chasing the accused down the street in his dressing gown, the girl’s quick thinking resulted in no-body being harmed. 

But what about those scenarios where stress doesn’t invite clear thinking? And what do you do if you are in immediate danger, but can’t open your mouth to call anyone about it?

The South Australian Police Department advises to still call triple zero (000) in an emergency. If you are unable to make a sound hold the line, when an operator picks up,  and you remain silent you will automatically be transferred to another line.

There, if you’re able to listen to the automatic operator on the other end, you’ll be asked to hit 55. That way, if you are in danger, police understand the reason for your silence and how opening your mouth will invite greater distress.

Emergency services will then track you down using location services and arrive as soon as possible.

What many should keep in mind, however, is if you’re calling from a mobile phone police are unable to decipher your exact location. In that case, often police will investigate who owns the phone and what address is registered to that phone. They’ll then come knocking on that address.

Those with hearing or speech impediments can use their textphone or teletypewriter device to contact an emergency service operator. 

Callers to the free 106 Text Emergency Call number will be asked to type PPP for police, FFF for fire, or AAA for ambulance. The relay officer will then call the requested emergency service, and relay the call on behalf of the caller. An able caller can also just say ‘police’, ‘fire’, or ‘ambulance’ to the relay officer. The relay operator will stay on the line during the entire conversation with the connected emergency service.

Devices that are connected to a fixed telephone line will allow the emergency service operator to automatically determine your geographic location where you are making your call from, however, you will still be asked to confirm the exact address of where the emergency is located.

For those who may find themselves in a tricky situation whilst travelling interstate, the 55 process is the same Australia-wide. How each state handles the call is up to each police force.

Although we wouldn’t wish this scenario on anyone, it’s heartening to know processes exist, and your opportunity to reach those who may help isn’t hindered by circumstance.

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If you want to read more tips on staying safe click here

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