BALLARAT’S triple-zero call centre takes more than 2000 emergency calls from across the state each day, but what happens if the centre is affected by its own emergency?
The man in charge of the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority centre at Mount Helen assures that there are strict emergency protocols in place, meaning that no matter what happens every call will be answered.
“There is no issue or risk to the public with us not taking calls,” ESTA centre manager Wayne Walters said.
“We have redundancy plans where calls are shared with two other centres in East Burwood and at the World Trade Centre in Melbourne.
“The team here is very experienced to address any circumstances that may arise.
“But our main focus is to provide services to members of the Victorian public in need.”
Even when fire danger ratings hit “catastrophic” levels, Mr Walters said ESTA staff worked on.
“We have specific processes in place but it depends on every particular circumstance (whether we evacuate),” he said.
Between the three ESTA centres, 2.2 million triple-zero calls are answered each year, including 1.5 million emergency calls.
About 270 staff work in the Mount Helen centre to ensure phones are manned 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
“The staff here are very dedicated to the cause of providing services to the people of Victoria,” Mr Walters said.
“They have received extensive training in emergency services call-taking and dispatch.
“The staff work well in all situations and they make themselves available when we have increased activity.
“Unfortunately with emergency calls and workload you can’t always predict it, although we do use some planning techniques to identify busier periods like during storm activity.”
The hot summer so far has brought a rise in the number of calls the centre has received.
Mr Walters said it was vital that callers give as much information as possible when on the line.
“There has been an increase in activity, we are in the fire season at the moment and the members of the public need to be very careful in what activities they take,” he said.
“From an ESTA point of view, if they could take note of where they are so they can tell us then we can get a response to them as quick as possible.”