Tonga Communication Corporation (TCC) Chief Executive Officer Tīmote Kātoanga said he was unaware of any complaints about calls being left unanswered by his staff at the 911 call centre.
He said he was happy to have learned about the complaints through Kaniva News so he could check on the allegations.
Kātoanga said if it could be proved there were complaints about unanswered calls, the TCC would work to resolve them.
Kātoanga was responding after some complainants told Kaniva News they called 911 to report emergency needs but the line was either busy or the calls went unanswered.
Some complainants said they needed confirmation from TCC regarding 911.
In a story published by Kaniva News last month regarding two house fires in a property in Kolomotu’a the Fire Service claimed the family called 911 before calling 999, the number for fire services.
This implied that 911 was not a number for all emergency services.
But Kātoanga has confirmed that 911 was in fact a number for all emergency services.
He said anybody could call 911 and report any emergency and staff would contact the emergency service they needed, whether it was fire, police, power or ambulance.
The TCC telephone directory lists seven numbers for emergency calls.
Fire service for:
Nuku’alofa district is 999
Hahake District / Lapaha is 927
Hihifo District / Nukunuku is 928
Hospital is 933
Police is 922
And 911 is written as a number for any emergency assistance.
People can call these numbers free, Kātoanga said.
When asked whether having so many emergency numbers could lead to confusion by the public about which number they should call Kātoanga said there was an advantage in assigning one number each to Police, fire, electricity and ambulance.
He said this could reduce waiting times for callers; whereas if they called 911 they had to wait so the staff could redirect them to the assigned number for whatever services they wanted.
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