THE ESTA phone lines are running hotter than ever.
But even with more than 2.3 million calls taken each year, new figures show the response time is actually getting faster.
The 2012-13 Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority annual report, released this month, shows the amount of calls taken by the emergency call centre continues to climb each year.
However, the amount of time taken to answer the calls has dropped across all emergency services.
It now takes three seconds on average for an emergency phone call to be answered at ESTA for police, fire or ambulance services, but an average of 27 seconds for an SES call.
Staff numbers continue to climb at the centre to meet the demand, with more than 200 personnel now employed at the Mt Helen complex.
Acting head of customer services at ESTA Michael Kiernan said it was pleasing to show the investment in staff and technology were paying dividends, but he stressed there was always room for improvement.
“We will be going back to the government for an appropriate funding level to ensure we deliver the best service we can,” Mr Kiernan said.
“For us it is important to be engaged with the community, but also work with the agencies to deliver the appropriate response times.”
The CFA recorded the best call answer time, with an average of 1.8 seconds, compared to 2.9 for their Metropolitan Fire Brigade counterparts.
An average police call is answered in 3.4 seconds, down from 4.5 seconds last year, while ambulance calls have dropped from an average of 4.7 seconds to 3.9 seconds this year.
“There is always room for improvement and we are always working towards that,” Mr Kiernan said.
“We can’t always predict the demand, we maintain what we think is a suitable number of staff to deal with every situation as best we can.”
There are now 752 full-time equivalent employees at ESTA, with centres also existing in Burwood and Docklands.