Federated farmers is concerned about emergency responsiveness and 111 coverage after it took a farmer about 30 minutes to get through to an operator after she trod in a wasps’ nest.
. . . “Given the 111 service is a rural lifeline, Federated Farmers was troubled to learn Janet Kelland struggled to get through for upwards of 30 minutes,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Rural Security spokesperson.
“Telecom/Spark’s Telecommunications Service Obligation is relevant here because it must answer 111 calls within 15 seconds.
“Federated Farmers is calling on Telecom/Spark to make sure it meets its TSO obligations and a formal complaint from Janet would help to trigger this.
“Cellular network performance at the time needs to be looked into as well as the mapping software being used by the ambulance call centre. A farmer repeatedly stung by wasps could have died for want of a connection.
“After getting clear Janet rang 111 and sometimes it would ring she told us and sometimes there was silence. While cell reception can be random in rural areas she has reception on her farm and good reception from where she tried to call from.
“Janet told Federated Farmers that it took 30-minutes before she got through to an operator. Even then after asking for an ambulance she was cut off.
“She did get through but when she gave her address the operator insisted it did not exist. While Janet resorted to some agricultural language, who could blame her given she was in agony.
“Clearly there are several issues that need to be looked at. There also seems to be a pressing need to review mapping software because Janet’s address is in the White Pages.
“We note the 2012 review said that the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment will be working with emergency service providers and the telecommunications sector to investigate new technology.
“Now seems a good time to start,” Mrs Milne concluded.
Mobile coverage is variable in the country but with RAPID (Rural Address Property Identification Numbers) there should be no problem with an address.
We’ve called 111 twice.
The first time was the night our son stopped breathing.
I started CPR while my farmer called for help. In those days 111 calls went to the local hospital and the man who answered the phone used to shear for us. As soon as he knew it was my farmer he said he’d tell the ambulance how to get there and told my farmer to hang up, ring our GP.
The second time was last December towards the end of a party when one of the guests stumbled, fell and knocked himself out.
I dialled 111, got straight through, had no problem with the address and the ambulance was here in less than 30 minutes.
However, both those calls were from landlines.
Staff who’ve had to call emergency services from our farm have managed to do so without problems, but there’s an element of luck in that they happened to be where they had reasonable coverage when they needed it.
Even in the 21st century you can’t expect 100% mobile coverage but you shouldn’t have to argue about your address.