What To Do When 000 Is Down And You Have An Emergency


It doesn’t happen often, but emergency services can go down. Currently, 911 service is down across several states in the U.S. after a massive outage at a CenturyLink data center. While some of the initially-out-of-service cities are already up and running again, others are still down.

So, what do you do when you can’t call triple zero? There are a few options.

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Some areas support texting for emergency services. Even with this outage, those services are still up and running. There are a few ways to get in touch with help if the main call line is down:

Dial 106, internet relay and ask for Triple Zero (000), using captioned relay – and ask for Triple Zero (000) or by SMS Relay – text 0423 677 767.

Save Local Emergency Numbers to Your Phone

It’s always a good idea to look up local emergency numbers and save them to your phone before an actual crisis hits. Even if 000 isn’t down, sometimes circuits can get overloaded and a call can take longer to get through than you’d like.

Saving emergency numbers in your phone now (while you’re presumably not having an emergency) can ensure you’ll have them at the ready when you do need them.

It (obviously) doesn’t make sense to list everyone’s local emergency numbers here, but a quick Google search should bring up the numbers for emergency services in your area.

000 is always the best place to start (unless it’s down, of course). Additionally, save the number for your local police and fire stations and hospital in your phone as something like “Emergency – Police” or “Emergency – Fire” so they’ll be easy to find later.

While you’re at it, it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and save some non-emergency numbers, as well. As someone who has had to do searches for who to call when my neighbours threw at 4 AM disco blowout or how to get the truck blocking our driveway towed, it’s a lot easier to make those calls if you have the number already saved and ready to go.


  • Other options are to use Policelink which may work when 000 is down. Obviously they can only get through to Police, but Police generally have ways of sending messages to other emergency services. QLD Police for example have a digital link on their CAD system to both QAS and QFES. Policelink is 131 444 in every state.

    Another option is saving the number for your local Police Station in your phone, but lots of stations don’t have 24 hour phone answering, even if they’re working on the road.

  • When travelling abroad (or not) 112 is the only number you need know on your mobile phone.

    From Wikipedia:
    “112 is the common emergency telephone number that can be dialed free of charge from most mobile telephones and, in some countries, fixed telephones in order to reach emergency services (ambulance, fire and rescue, police).

    112 is a part of the GSM standard and all GSM-compatible telephone handsets are able to dial 112 even when locked or, in some countries, with no SIM card present. It is also the common emergency number in India and in nearly all member states of the European Union as well as several other countries of Europe and the world. 112 is often available alongside other numbers traditionally used in the given country to access emergency services. In some countries, calls to 112 are not connected directly but forwarded by the GSM network to local emergency numbers (e.g., 911 in North America or 000 in Australia.”

  • Several caveats to be aware of:

    The National Relay Service is not scoped to handle an influx of emergency calls, and doing so will place pressure on both the service and the operator(s). So, fine for a single emergency, not so much for mass casualty or significant response events.

    The 106 number is a virtual number, the same as 000. If 000 is having difficulties, then it is quite possible that calls to 106 will share the same fate.
    Likewise with the default GSM emergency number 112.

    Similar to the above, if you cannot get through to 000, quite likely that the NRS operator will not be able to either.

    All that said, in an emergency, you want as much assistance as you can get, just be aware these aren’t magical backdoors into the emergency services.

    Finally, if you have access to a smartphone, then the Emergency+ app can also get you to the Emergency Services, with the added benefit of it providing your location as well.
    Android: https://play.google.com/store?hl=en
    IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/emergency-+/id691814685?mt=8

    Thanks for updating the article with Australian numbers

    • Another thing to add that all people should do is to find out the number for your local police station.

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