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10 phone numbers that could save your life

2014-08-28 11:46

WHICH NUMBER DO YOU NEED?: Knowing the correct emergency phone number could mean life - or death. Our top 10 emergency numbers guide could save your life! Image: Sapa

Ambulance, police, fire-fighters... the last thing you want to do in an emergency is dial a wrong number.

Elmarie Twilley, spokesperson for insurer Virseker, said: “Every second counts in an emergency and can mean life or death.
“Being in an emergency is highly traumatic and can make remembering the correct emergency number very challenging. You may panicking so it’s crucial to be as prepared as you can be with all the information you need to hand."


that, Twilley warned, included having the right emergency number, the address and the nature of the emergency at the ready. "This will stop you wasting time when you need it most.”

You can make an emergency call even if you're out of cellphone airtime. It should also be possible even if you don't have a SIM card.

Emergency calls take priority; if a network is busy other calls will be ignored to facilitate yours. Cellphone networks must, in terms of their licences, provide immediate access to five emergency services: fire, ambulance, police, sea rescue and traffic.
Twilley said: “It’s imperative that you stay calm and give emergency services the information they need to help you. The automated menu is not there to frustrate you but rather to act as a form of ‘riage, filtering out abuse of the system.

"It sorts urgent calls from the non-urgent calls and makes sure you reach an operator most suited to help in your situation.”

When calling for an ambulance, you need to provide your identity, the nature of the emergency, contact number (in case they need to call you back) and your street address (province, suburb, street, number).

Try to include your nearest road junction or landmark and, if possible, send someone outside to direct the ambulance. It may feel like you are wasting precious seconds doing this but by giving them clear information you’re ensuring that the ambulance finds its way to you rather than getting lost.
Twilley explains that the operator will ask you questions about the incident/patient to determine what kind of emergency response is needed: "They’ll probably give you instructions over the phone while the ambulance is on its way. Don’t put the phone down until the operator has ended the call.

"The paramedics in the ambulance may also phone you back to let you know where they are or to find out some more information from you."
Here are practical tips and emergency numbers you should save on your phone:
• For police response, dial 10111 (nationally)
• For an ambulance dial 10177 (nationally)
• If calling from a cellphone you can dial 112 to be linked to your cellphone provider's emergency call centre which will route you to the closest emergency service.
• The cellphone networks also have different special emergency services that you can dial in addition to 112. Check with your network for details.
• In Johannesburg, dial 011 375 5911 for any emergency and you will be redirected.
• In the Cape Town metropolitan area dial 107 (at no cost from a land line or public phone) for any emergency or disaster.
• Dialling 107 from a cellphone WONT WORK. To dial the Cape Town single emergency number from a cellphone dial 021 480 7700. Normal cell phone charges apply.
• Private emergency services company Netcare 911 can be reached by dialling 082 911
• Private emergency service company ER24 can be reached by dialling 084 124
• Keep the number(s) of a close friend or relative saved on your phone under “ICE” (In Case of Emergency), a global standard. This will enable emergency staff to contact your loved ones should you be injured and unable to communicate.
Twilley concludes: “It’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the number of the ambulance service, public or private, in your area and make sure you keep it handy – close to the phone or programmed into your cellphone.”

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