Background Timely provision of emergency care reduces losses associated with trauma, fire or disaster. Rescue 1122 is an integrated emergency service offering emergency services and safer community programs in 37 major cities of Province Punjab, Pakistan. It operates through a toll free number, 1122. This study analyses the burden of Non-Emergency Calls (NECs) received on 1122.
Methods Retrospective analysis of all received calls on 1122 during 2004-September 2015 was conducted. Data were collected from 37 major cities of Punjab.
Results Rescue 1122 received over 79 million calls during study period; with only over three million (4%) emergency calls and 76 million (96%) NECs. There were 66 million (87%) Prank, 8 million (10.5%) Information Seeking and 1.8 million (2.5%) Wrong calls. Additionally, about 0.17 million (0.2%) Fake calls were also received, on which 3,964 false dispatches were made. Maximum NECs (around 14 million) were attended by Lahore Rescue 1122; while similar patterns of NECs were also experienced across Punjab. Rescue 1122 adopted various NECs counter-strategies that include: usage of questionnaire-based minimalist communication between anonymous caller and 1122 staff; software-based blacklisting and auto-blocking for habitual callers and calling back for deterrence.
Conclusions Data analysis shows that NECs pose a massive burden on Rescue 1122. Excessive misuse of an emergency number suggests public’s lack of awareness and apathetic attitude that could result in death or serious outcome of an emergency. False dispatches made could have resulted in deprivation of emergency care to real emergencies and economic losses as well. Though, Rescue 1122 has adopted some counter-strategies, however that cannot lessen the burden of NECs. Therefore, a mass awareness campaign is needed to sensitise the public regarding the sensitivity of the issue.
- Non-emergency calls
- public awareness
- Rescue 1122
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