Operators battling to answer 000
OVERLOADED operators are battling to answer 000 calls following the closure of two major regional response centres in NSW.
Since earlier this month, every 000 call placed to NSW Fire and Rescue has gone to operators in Newcastle in Sydney.
Regional and rural residents have long been concerned about the ability of city-based operators with a lack of local knowledge to respond quickly.
Recently, one operator reportedly sent a crew to respond to a fire in a town eight hours from where help was needed.
Before the changes, calls from regional NSW were going already going to centres in the Sydney region but the closure of the Wollongong and Katoomba branches sent operators into overload.
A spokesperson for NSW fire and Rescue admitted there had been some teething problems but was adamant the restructure would benefit callers in the long term.
They said both centres had experienced troubles on Tuesday with the automatic messaging application and fire alarm database but the problems did not impact the response to 000 calls.
"Triple Zero calls from across NSW will be answered by available call-takers, regardless of which communication centre they are located in," the spokesperson said
"This will reduce the time it takes to answer emergency calls and dispatch fire crews from both Fire and Rescue and the Rural Fire Service, ultimately leading to greater public safety."