Emergency services

In an emergency, telephone 000 for:

Calls to 000 (triple zero) are free. Be prepared to provide your name, address and telephone number (if you have one), and the type of service you need.

If you cannot speak English, you must firstly tell the operator what kind of help you need (simply say: “Police”, “Ambulance” or “Fire”), and then say your language. You will be connected to the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) directly, so do not hang up. The TIS interpreter will then help the police, fire or ambulance service to obtain your address and other details.

Police

In an emergency, telephone 000 and ask for the “Police”.

For non-urgent matters, ring 000 or your local police station. Their numbers are listed under ‘Police stations’ in the White Pages telephone directory. There is no charge for police services.

Police in Australia are not connected to the military forces and do not play a part in politics. They aim to protect life and property in the community, prevent and detect crime, and preserve peace. The police may intervene in family issues where there is a domestic dispute or concern about physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

Ambulance

If you need an ambulance, telephone 000 and ask for an “Ambulance”. Ambulances provide emergency transport to hospital and immediate medical attention. Remember, DO NOT HANG UP the telephone if you do not speak English – say your language and an interpreter will assist you with your call.

In some states and territories, the ambulance service may be free or discounted to people who get an Australian Government pension or who have a Health Care Card (given by Centrelink to people assessed as low income earners). It can be expensive if you do not have these benefits, so you may wish to become an ambulance member or join a private health insurance fund that covers the cost. See Chapter 11, The health system.

In Victoria the Ambulance is not a free service unless you have a government pension or a Health Care Card (issued by Centrelink to people assessed as low income earners). Ambulance attendance and transport can be expensive if you do not have these benefits, so you may wish to become an ambulance member or join a private health insurance fund which covers the cost. (See Chapter 11, The health system.) The Metropolitan Ambulance Service recommends you become an Ambulance Victoria Member for an annual fee of $60.00 for single people or $120.00 for families. This provides full ambulance cover across Australia. Collect a membership application form at Australia Post and join over the counter or contact:

Ambulance membership 1800 648 484

Fire

In an emergency, telephone 000 and ask for the “Fire Brigade”. The fire brigade puts out fires, rescues people from burning buildings and also assists in situations where gas or chemicals become a danger. In non-urgent cases, you can use the telephone number listed under ‘Fire brigades’ in the White Pages telephone directory.

Other emergency numbers

Useful emergency telephone numbers are listed at the front of your local White Pages telephone directory. They include:

Poisons Information Centre
(24 Hour Line)
13 1126
Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS)
(24 Hour Freecall Crisis Line)
1800 688 009

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