Call Triple Zero in an Emergency

Knowing how to call Triple Zero (000) for a fire or rescue emergency can be the difference between life and death, or a building or other property being saved or destroyed.

The triple zero (000) service is the quickest way to get the right help from emergency services and should be used to contact Police, Fire or Ambulance services in life threatening or time critical situations.

Calls to Triple Zero (000) are free and can be made from mobile phones, home phones, work phones or payphones.

The simple steps in making a Triple Zero (000) call to report a fire:

  • Stay calm and call Triple Zero '000' from a safe location.
  • A Telstra operator will ask you if you need Police, Fire or Ambulance. Say 'Fire'. If you are calling from a mobile or satellite phone the operator will ask you for other location information.
  • You will be connected to an Emergency Services Operator to provide more details.
  • Stay on the line, speak clearly and answer the Operator's questions.
  • Give them details of where you are including:
    • Street number
    • Street name
    • Nearest cross street
    • Locality
    • In rural areas it is important to give the full address and distances from landmarks and roads, not just the name of the property
    • If travelling on a Freeway, Expressway or on a rural road, know the direction you are travelling and last exit or town you passed through to assist services to correctly locate the incident

Do not hang up until the Operator has all the information they need.

If possible wait outside a pre-arranged meeting point or prominent location for Fire Services to arrive to assist them in locating the fire.

Other things everyone should know in an emergency:

  • If a person is unable to speak English, if they call Triple Zero (000), say "fire" and leave the phone off the hook the call will be recorded and traced and a fire appliance will be sent to that address.
  • Record the Triple Zero (000) emergency number beside the telephone at home and work.  
  • Take time to teach children and overseas visitors how to make an emergency call.
  • Callers with hearing or speech impairments can call the one zero six (106) text-based emergency call service using a textphone.
  • 112 is the Global System for Mobiles (GSM) international standard emergency number which can only be dialled on digital mobile phones. 112 can be dialled anywhere in the world with GSM coverage and is automatically transferred to that country's emergency number.
  • If you are unable to speak to the Triple Zero (000) operator because it is not safe to speak or you cannot speak
    • When a 000 caller doesn’t respond to the operator’s question ‘Emergency. Police? Fire? Ambulance?’ The call is transferred to an interactive voice response (IVR). The IVR asks you to press ‘55’ if you require emergency help. If you don’t press ‘55’ after being asked three times, your call will be disconnected.
    • If you press ‘55’ you will be connected to the police. If you are still unable to speak, the police will attempt to call you back and might also send a patrol car to your address.
    • Police will use the address for the service (which would usually be either your home or billing address). This means it is important to make sure that you telco has the most up to date address details for your phone services.

In an emergency fire situation DO NOT call your local Fire Station.

This action could lead to a delayed response or inappropriate resource being sent.

Power outages

Calling triple zero (000) during a power outage depends on the type of phone and service you are using.

Non NBN service
If your landline service hasn’t been transferred to the NBN network, you can still call triple zero (000) if your phone is plugged directly into a phone socket.

These phones normally receive their power direct from the phone network. Cordless phones need a power source, so you won’t be able to call triple zero (000) if there is a power outage.

NBN service
Your home phone, computer or mobile device connected to the NBN will not work if there is a power failure during an emergency.

You may not be able to call 000 to access emergency services from your home phone or connected devices. 

Important Links

Using your landline phone in a power outage, https://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/using-your-landline-phone-in-a-power-outage, ACMA, retrieved April 2019

Prepare for an emergency, https://www.nbnco.com.au/residential/learn/what-happens-in-a-power-blackout/emergencies-and-outages, NBN Co, retrieved April 2019

What happens in a power blackout, https://www.nbnco.com.au/residential/learn/what-happens-in-a-power-blackout, NBN Co, retrieved April 2019

What Services will be switched off when NBN comes to your area, https://www.nbnco.com.au/residential/learn/device-compatibility/services-that-will-be-switched-off, NBN Co, retrieved April 2019

It’s a good idea to have another way of contacting triple zero (000) in a power outage, such as a charged mobile phone.

For additional information on the NBN and Triple Zero calls refer to the ACMA. https://www.acma.gov.au/emergency-calls

Information for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Speech Impaired

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for 1300 737 637
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 737 637
  • Internet relay users connect to the NRS then ask for 1300 737 637
  • To report a fire or emergency (TTY users only), access TTY 106
    TTY 106 is a dedicated text-based emergency relay service with direct access to fire, police and ambulance services. It can only be contacted through a TTY machine, not from a mobile phone or ordinary phone.

For further information:

The Australian Emergency Call Service
Calling the Emergency Call Service from a mobile phone