A report into technology outages at Victoria’s Triple Zero (000) provider, the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), has recommended the implementation of a technology-based backup system.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said that the report by the Emergency Services Commissioner Michael Hallowes examined four unplanned Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) outages at ESTA over nine weeks from May to August 2013.
“Triple Zero is a vital emergency service. It is the only service in Australia that responds to all Police, Fire and Ambulance emergency calls,” Mr Wells said.
“It is pleasing to report that the Emergency Services Commissioner did not find any evidence to show members of the community experienced loss, damage or any adverse impact as a result of these outages.
“However, the report highlights that ESTA relies on a manual system in circumstances where its CAD system fails.
“This system works but as the Commissioner notes, it is not a sufficiently effective contingency for business continuity.”
Manual operations are a process of last resort where Triple Zero call takers and dispatchers record incoming calls on a card, locate the incident on a map and then dispatch emergency services having checked their availability by radio or telephone.
“I am pleased that plans to introduce a more effective technology-based alternative are in place,” Mr Wells said.
“ESTA Chief Executive Officer Ken Shymanski has assured me that work has already commenced towards a technology-based backup. I am informed that ESTA is in the process of developing a business case for the new system and that they have accepted all the recommendations in the report.
“Victorians must have confidence in the operation of Triple Zero and want assurance the system works. CAD Availability last financial year was 99.86%.
“ESTA call takers and dispatchers do an excellent job in what can be trying circumstances. Their commitment and dedication to their job is to be commended,” said Mr Wells.
The Victorian Coalition Government provided ESTA with $10.3 million in 2011-12 and a further $3.9 million in 2012-13 to upgrade its CAD system.
The report Review of ESTA Computer Aided Dispatch Disruptions May – August 2013 is available from www.oesc.vic.gov.au.
Media contact: Jess Jackson 0437 422 048