The increasing number of prank calls made to Rescue 1122 over the past two years has hindered their services. Out of approximately 0.6 million calls, 0.2 million have been reported as hoaxes.
Rescue 1122 spokesperson Urooj Shirazi said that if ambulances or fire fighters attended the fake calls, it might delay their response in real emergencies elsewhere.
The organisation plans to take action against the hoax calls. “The governor has approved an ordinance for the regularisation of our services which will pave way to formulate legislation about the fake rescue requests,” Shirazi said. The Punjab rescue services give a six-month imprisonment and heavy fines to any prank callers.
Talking about a strategy to deal with these calls, Shirazi further said that with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s assistance, Rescue 1122 would be able to block numbers from which they receive fake calls for a couple of days. They would reopen the number as the callers could face real emergencies in the future.
“We receive around 20 to 30 emergency calls daily and usually take seven minutes to respond to an incident,” he said.Shirazi said that 50% of their callers were children who usually demand to listen to music or send them mobile cards. Rescue 1122 has to answer all calls because they could be real emergency situations.
He appealed to the people to stop misusing Rescue 1122 services, saying that in this region where militant attacks occur regularly, busying their lines puts people’s lives at stake.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2012.