BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Dec 7: For them it is just pulling a prank, for others it may be a matter of life and death. Despite taking steps to develop 108 emergency ambulances service, the authorities in the department have to grapple with the menace of prank calls.
Speaking to this reporter, Programme Manager of GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute Dhurba Jyoti Baruah said, “Every day we receive 18,000 to 20,000 calls on an average, seeking emergency ambulance service all over Assam. However, at least 50 per cent of the calls are found to be from pranksters. Most of the time either it is a mistaken call or call out of curiosity, wanting to find out if really any 108 ambulance goes to them or not.”
“It takes an average response time of 33 minutes to reach any emergency case. So, when our ambulance gets a prank call, almost an hour gets wasted. This one hour could have been used to serve another patient in actual need. This way we miss thousands of serious patients while going to serve prank calls,” Mr Baruah said.
State Commissioner and Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Department Samir Kumar Sinha said, “This is very unfortunate that people make fun of emergency ambulance service. We’re trying to deal with this problem. We’ve to monitor the call numbers. If a person is making prank calls from the same number again and again, we’ll have to block the number.”
Sinha said that they would also keep provisions of taking necessary legal action against people making prank calls.