Calling Triple Zero (000) is not a common occurrence for most Australians. However, it is something that we all know we can rely on in times of emergency. But do we really know the importance of this number and how it works?

Quick, put up the Bat Signal!

Unlike the DC Comics, shining a bright light in the sky during an emergency, is not going to summon a Superhero to help you. However, we do have something even better and that is the Triple Zero (000) telephone service.

When to call Triple Zero (000)?

The telephone number, Triple Zero (000) is Australia’s emergency services number. You must dial Triple Zero (000) if you need police, ambulance, or firefighting services. Triple Zero (000) is only to be contacted in an emergency, where someone’s life or property is in imminent danger.

Here are three examples of when it is appropriate to call Triple Zero (000):

Medical emergency: If someone is in a serious or life-threatening situation, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Fire: If you see a fire or smell smoke, call Triple Zero (000) straight away.

Crime or accident: If you witness a crime or a serious accident, report it to the police by calling Triple Zero (000).

How does it work?

When you call Triple Zero (000), your call is answered by a Telstra operator who will ask a series of questions to determine which emergency service is required. If you require the police, ambulance or fire service, the operator will transfer you to the relevant service. If you are unable to speak or communicate for any reason, remain on the line, and don’t hang up. This will enable emergency services to determine if assistance is required.

Once you are connected to the required service, the operator will ask further questions about the situation to help determine the urgency of the situation and give advice on how to manage the situation until help arrives. It is important to stay calm and answer questions as accurately as possible to ensure the emergency services can provide the help you need.

You can call Triple Zero (000) from any landline or mobile phone and certain Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and satellite services.

To call Triple Zero (000) from a mobile phone, there must be mobile phone coverage from at least one network provider. It will not work if there is no mobile phone coverage in the area. You cannot send an SMS to Triple Zero (000) from your mobile phone.

On 25 August 2021, the Australian Government announced the completion of the rollout of Advanced Mobile Location (AML) technology for the Triple Zero (000) Emergency Call Service. AML is a technology built into the operating system of Apple and Android mobile phones which will provide greater location accuracy to Triple Zero (000) during an emergency call from a mobile telephone. AML will allow the call taker to determine your precise location to within 25m if you are outside and 50m if you are inside a building.

You can call Triple Zero (000) using the Emergency+ app on your smartphone. One advantage of using the Emergency+ app to call Triple Zero (000) is that if you do not know your exact location, the app will use the GPS on your smartphone, or you can provide a what3words address. Emergencies can happen in places that are difficult for a caller to describe such as an unmarked stretch of beach, bush track or unfamiliar road. The what3words functionality contained within Emergency+ complements other address identifiers – like your street address or GPS co-ordinates – ​and is a quick and simple way to communicate your precise location. The system has given every 3 square metres on earth a unique three-word identifier: a what3words address. It will not work if there is no mobile phone coverage in the area.

VoIP is a technology that allows you to make telephone calls over broadband Internet connections. Some VoIP providers may not provide access to emergency calls, so check with your VoIP provider if you require the emergency call service. Please do not call Triple Zero (000) to assess functionality.

All Australian satellite phone operators provide access to Triple Zero (000). If your provider operates via another country, you may not be able to access Triple Zero (000). Check with your satellite phone provider if you are unsure whether you can contact Triple Zero (000) from your satellite phone. Please do not call Triple Zero (000) to assess functionality.

There is no fee for calling Triple Zero (000). These calls are free from any kind of phone.

What to expect?

When the emergency services arrive, they will assess the situation and provide the necessary assistance. This may include providing first aid, investigating a crime scene, or putting out a fire. It is important to follow the instructions of the emergency services and remain calm until the situation has been resolved.

It is also important to remember that calling Triple Zero (000) is only to be used in an emergency. Misuse of the service can delay help reaching those that need it and can be potentially life-threatening. False calls to Triple Zero (000) tie up valuable resources that is needed by someone in genuine distress.

What about calling 112?

112 is an emergency phone number that you can call in many countries around the world, including Australia. It is a universal emergency number that will connect you to the appropriate emergency services in that country. In Australia, 112 is known as the ‘international emergency number’, and it is a secondary emergency number that can be dialled in addition to the primary emergency number, Triple Zero (000). However, 112 can only be dialled on a mobile phone and will not work on a landline. If you are travelling in Australia and are from a country where 112 is the primary emergency number, you can still use this number to call for help.

What about calling 911?

911 is the emergency telephone number used in other countries such as the United States and Canada. This number should not be used in an emergency in Australia. If dialled within Australia, this number will not re-route emergency calls to Triple Zero (000).

In conclusion, calling Triple Zero (000) is a vital service that provides essential assistance in times of emergency. Knowing when to call, how to call and what to expect can help to ensure that help arrives as quickly as possible. It is important to use this service responsively to ensure that resources are directed to those who require assistance the most. Whilst, Triple Zero (000) is the primary emergency number in Australia, you can still call 112 for emergency services but do not call 911 as that will not work. Make sure to provide accurate information to the operator so they can dispatch the appropriate services to your location. Stay safe!


Emergency calls | ACMA

How to Call 000 (


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