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Emergency calls

What is the emergency service number in Australia?

Triple Zero (000) is Australia’s primary emergency service number for:

  • police
  • fire
  • ambulance

Australia has two secondary emergency service numbers that only work with particular technologies:

  • 112 is the GSM international standard emergency number which can only be dialled on a digital mobile phone.
  • 106 is the text-based emergency number for people who are deaf, or who have a hearing or speech impairment. This service operates using a textphone (TTY) or a computer with modem access.

What is the Triple Zero (000) Emergency Call Service and when should I call it?

The 000 Emergency Call Service is an operator-assisted service that connects you to the relevant emergency service organisation (police, fire or ambulance). Telstra is responsible for answering calls to the emergency service numbers 000 and 112, and transferring them to the requested emergency service organisation.

Only call Triple Zero (000) for urgent emergency assistance. For not urgent situations call your local police, fire or ambulance service.

Can I call 000 from any type of telephone service?

000 can be called from:

  • any fixed or mobile phone
  • some VoIP services.

For more information see:

Triple Zero (000) can be called from any conventional ‘handheld’ satellite phone.

There are some limited exemptions for non-handheld satellite services provided to commercial users on Inmarsat satellites – for example, the shipping and aeronautical industries – where there is little or no expectation that Triple Zero (000) will be accessible.  Customers of exempt satellite services must be notified about not having access to Triple Zero.  The exemptions do not include conventional handheld satellite phone services marketed to the general public.

Will I be charged if I call Triple Zero (000)?

No. Calls to 000 are free.

What happens when I dial Triple Zero (000)?

When you dial 000 you will hear this recorded message:

"You have dialled emergency Triple Zero. Your call is being connected."

Your call is then answered by a Telstra operator who will:

  • ask if you require police, fire or ambulance assistance.
  • may ask what town and state you are calling from.
  • connect you to the relevant emergency service
  • stay on the line with you until the call is answered.

In extreme events, such as major bushfires or storms, there may be a short delay in answer due to an increased number of calls. Stay on the line to maintain your place in the queue.

For more information on 000 calls see:

How will the operator know where I am when I call?

When you call 000, your address details in the Integrated Public Number Database appear on the operator’s screen and are passed to the relevant emergency service.

If you call 000 from a mobile phone or VoIP service your exact location is not automatically available to the operator.

You will need to provide the operator information about the location of the emergency, including the town/suburb and state.

For more information see:

How do I know if my address details stored in the IPND are correct?

Contact your carriage service provider to check your address details in the IPND are up-to-date.

Will updating my White Pages entry also update my IPND record?

No. The White Pages does not utilise IPND data. Contact your carriage service provider directly to ensure your IPND record is also successfully updated.

How do I contact emergency services if I have a hearing or speech impairment?

Call 106. This is a text based emergency call service provided as a part of the National Relay Service (NRS).

An operator will connect you with the appropriate emergency service (police, fire or ambulance). The 106 service is not currently accessible via mobile text or SMS messaging.

The text based internet relay service for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment and a voice based service for people with speech impairment are also provided as a part of the NRS. Users of these services can request that a call be made to the Triple Zero emergency service, for connection with the appropriate emergency service organisation (police, fire or ambulance).

What if I am unable to speak to the operator?

A Caller No Response (CNR) initiative for the 000 Emergency Call Service is in place to help genuine callers receive help even if they are unable to speak. If a caller does not respond to the operator's question "Emergency. Police? Fire? Ambulance?" the call is directed to an interactive voice response (IVR) unit. Callers directed to the IVR unit are asked to press ‘55’ if they require emergency assistance. If a caller does not press ‘55’ after three requests from the IVR the call is disconnected.

Callers who press ‘55’ are connected to the police in the appropriate state by the operator. If the caller is still unable to speak, the police will attempt to call back and might also dispatch a patrol car to the caller's address. The address used to dispatch a patrol car is the address stored in the IPND (which would usually be either your home or billing address). It is therefore important that your carriage service provider has your most up-to-date address details for your phone services.

Does a power outage affect my ability to call Triple Zero (000)?

Yes, depending on the type of service and phone you are using to call 000.

Cordless telephones are dependent on a power source, therefore if there is a power blackout you will not be able to call 000.

VoIP services are dependent on access to the internet.. If there is a power outage that affects the power supply to the computer or the broadband modem, the VoIP service will not be available. This includes calls to emergency services on 000 or 106 for people with speech or hearing impairments that use a TTY or modem.

Regular, non-portable fixed line telephones that can be plugged directly into a phone socket normally receive their power direct from the phone network in the event of a blackout. This allows for ongoing availability of telephone services, including calls to emergency services. You may wish to consider having a spare non-portable telephone in your house or work in the event of an emergency in a power outage.

Can I call 911 from a fixed line in an emergency?

No. This number cannot be used to call the Emergency Call Service in Australia.

Can I contact my State Emergency Service (SES) by calling Triple Zero(000)?

No. Calls to 000 can only be transferred to police, fire or ambulance services. The telephone number for all SES units is 132 500, except in the Northern Territory where there is no state-wide telephone number.

What if I can’t speak English and need to call Triple Zero (000)?

Currently the 000 Emergency Call Service does not have the facilities to translate different languages at the point of answer.

If a caller to 000 is unable to speak English their call is transferred to the capital city police in the state they are calling from. Once connected to police, or the nominated emergency service, a translator will be organised if one is not immediately available.

What does the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have to do with emergency services?

The ACMA regulates and monitors the provision of emergency call services to ensure responsibilities and obligations are met.

For more information see:

The ACMA’s role in relation to emergency call services

Last updated: 06 August 2013

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