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Since we discussed Mobile Phones and Emergency Numbers we received a few queries as to who exactly is the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) and what is their function. In Victoria the emergency service dispatch and call-taking for police, metropolitan ambulance, and both rural and metropolitan fire services, is handled by the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA). This means that when you dial 000 (triple zero) these are the guys who organise the appropriate response. But most walkers, cyclists and climbers probably don’t realise that ESTA are also the guys who install and manage those funky green Emergency Markers which dot our bushwalks (such as those in the Lerderderg Gorge), cycle paths (such as those along the Yarra River and Capital City Trails) and some climbing areas (such as those installed at various cliffs in the You Yangs). When an Emergency Marker is quoted, ESTA’s 000 transmitter can then provide specific navigational information to the responding emergency services. So, as you can see, ESTA really does play a vital role within our outdoor community.
I recently chatted to Jeff Adair (Manager Emergency Marker program at ESTA) and he is very keen to promote the roles and benefits of ESTA within our outdoor community. He provided us with a couple of interesting files. We have converted them to PDFs and have included them at the bottom of this post.

Here are a few interesting links:
You can check out ESTA’s web page at: ESTA.
Calling the Emergency Call Service from a mobile phone: FAQs.
Parks Victoria’s Emergency Markers page.
You can also email ESTA at or you can contact Jeff Adair directly on 03 86561218 to discuss any feedback or faults found with any Emergency Markers.

ESTA Fact Sheet PDF (2MB)
ESTA Marker Locations PDF (1.19MB)

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Mobile Phones and Emergency numbers

After all the discussions we have had regarding the Emergency Markers (in Lerderderg Gorge State Park) I thought it would be a good time to discuss mobile phones and the correct emergency numbers to be used by walkers, climbers and skiers.

These days, in the event of an emergency, people undertaking outdoor activities in the bush will have access to a mobile phone. The primary national emergency number in Australia is 000. In Victoria the emergency service dispatch and call-taking for Police, metropolitan Ambulance, and both rural and metropolitan fire services, is handled by the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA). You can check out their web page here: ESTA

What most people don’t realise is that the international emergency telephone number for GSM mobile phone networks is the number 112. This means that here in Australia we can dial either 000 or 112 (if you are using a GSM or 3G phone). In an emergency a GSM mobile phone owner should dial 000 first. If no service is available then dial 112. This may (depending upon the model of your phone) connect to whichever network is available in your location. Of course if there are no carriers in your location then neither 000 nor 112 will work.

In most newer GSM phones the number 000 is programmed into the firmware as an emergency number. This means that dialing the number 000 will provide exactly the same features as the number 112. The phone will connect to any available GSM network carrier (not just your own) to reach the Emergency Call Service. If you own a 3G phone, dialling 000 will connect you with the Emergency Call Service utilising whichever carrier is necessary.

The difference between GSM and 3G is fairly simple. GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) is used by about 80% of the worlds phones and is the current standard. The newer 3G (Telstra call it Next G) is the next generation of mobile technology that will eventually replace the now aging GSM system. The 3G system is has much faster data transfer speeds and allows for such features as video calling and faster download speeds. Unfortunately 3G is not backwards compatible with GSM.

Note that even if the keypad is locked, dialing 112 on a GSM mobile phone will connect you to the 000 Emergency Call Service. You can also connect to the 000 Emergency Call Service if the phone has no SIM card or if the SIM has not been validated. And just so you know, you cannot contact the 000 Emergency Call Service with SMS text messaging.