English operators on 999 service?

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Midlevels / USA (MD) / London
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    English operators on 999 service?

    Hi

    Thankfully I've never had to call 999 here for anything. I was kind of curious however about the language capabilities of the English-speaking operators. Are they native English speakers or is there some accent / misunderstandings?

    In call centers for everything from my phone to ordering a pizza I've run the gamut of full fluency to barely knowing any English and thinking I push the wrong number on the phone tree, but I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with 999?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    I had to call an ambulance last year as my son had an accident. The operators were brilliant, there were no issues with them understanding what I needed. I used simple words and did not go into too much detail on the phone with the operators. I did not have to repeat anything while on the call. We live at the Gold Coast and the ambulance was here within 5 - 10 minutes and took him to the hospital.


  3. #3

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    Sep 2007
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    The operators have an excellent standard of English. Biggest problem is usually understanding the callers due to them panicing etc. However, all calls are recorded with instant play back facility.


  4. #4

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    Mar 2007
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    Gold Coast Marina
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    We've called them out to rescue lost hikers. We did have problems and had to hand over to a cantonese speaker. Mainly because it was pretty hard to explain where we were and what was wrong with simple language (ie not a "simple' scenario).


  5. #5

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    Jun 2005
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    Was that the 999 operator or the fire/rescue service though?


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    I've had to call a couple of ambulances last year (we were hosting a sports competition).

    The English was OK, but not brilliant (after we got put through to the ambulance dispatcher), especially when describing the injury.

    The guys in the ambulance though spoke excellent english.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2005
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    The 999 operators themselves are good, can be an issue when directed though. Called them for a traffic accident in San Po Kong once and when directed to Police the guy didn't understand English very well so had to throw in some Canto. All sorted in the end but do wonder how it would have turned otherwise.
    Posted via Mobile Device


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    Was that the 999 operator or the fire/rescue service though?
    I think the latter.