Some 68 dispatchers are working through the festive season at the City’s emergency call centre.
The Public Emergency Communication Centre (PECC) handles all sorts of emergencies and has seen a sharp increase in calls compared to this time last year.
There is, however, a drop in the number of hoax calls, which tie up essential resources and hamper efforts to help those who have real emergencies, says mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.
So far there have been more than 51 000 call to the centre this December compared to 44 666 last year, with 727 prank calls compared to 2 152 last year.
“The bulk of the calls have always been medical calls,” said Mr Smith. “PECC strives to ensure ample staffing, especially over the festive season. Our 68 highly trained emergency communicators work on a shift basis and are able to communicate in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. More than 80% of calls are answered within 10 seconds. Those who call the centre are often injured, in pain or panicked, and they need someone on the other end of the line who can handle the situation.”
The dispatchers direct calls to the appropriate service, including the ambulance service and the police.
The PECC started operating as the centralised hub for emergency calls to the City in August 2000.
The public may call the PECC in the event of any life- or property- threatening emergencies.
The PECC emergency number is 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.