Police swamped by 1600 calls in five hours

THE police radio room received more than 1600 calls in five hours on Sunday, a long weekend in the South, with requests for non- urgent help causing problems.

A damaging storm hit the Hobart area on Sunday afternoon, with calls flooding the radio room from the 131444 police help line and the triple-0 service.

Ambulance Tasmania however, reported a slight increase in call- outs on Saturday, while things "settled down" on Sunday and Monday.

Police Communications Inspector Brian Edmonds advised that the triple-0 service was for life- threatening or time-critical emergencies only.

"The management of the police response was made more difficult by some people using the 000 service to report power outages and other non-critical issues," he said.

"Police responders were tasked to many emergencies, including power lines and trees over roads, overturned vessels and serious motor vehicle crashes.

"The staff in the police radio room had one of the busiest shifts in recent memory, receiving more than 1600 calls between 1pm and 6pm."

Inspector Edmonds said the number to call for non-urgent assistance was 131444, or for help from the State Emergency Service during storms or floods, the number was 132500.

Ambulance Tasmania emergency and medical services director Kevin Bate said there was a small increase in call-outs on Saturday, compared with this time last year, but numbers "settled down" on Sunday and Monday.

He said the small variation could not be attributed to a specific event, but long weekends usually meant that the service was slightly busier than normal.

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