Hopefully you never need to call 000 (or 112) for emergency help, but if you do, you’ll know that seconds will count – the sooner you can convey the nature of your emergency, what you need and where you are, the sooner first responders can get to you to help.

One of the biggest changes in the last 20 years has been the advent of mobile phones and the significant shift society has made away from landline telephones and onto their mobiles. Where a call from a landline can reliably matched to an address by 000 responders, with mobiles, its a bit more tricky and typically requires the caller to have a good idea of where they are (and be able to communicate this).

With the introduction of Advanced Mobile Location, most callers to 000 will no longer have to jump this hurdle.

Advanced Mobile Location or AML is a technology that allows capable smartphones to send their location to Emergency Services when the user connects to the Triple Zero Emergency Call Service. Considering some 77% of calls to 000 come from mobiles, this is going to be a big help.

This means that when you call emergency 000, your location will be sent automatically to the service, allowing them to send help your way more precisely, even if you’re unable to communicate your address or location.

Here’s how it works:

  • An AML-enabled smartphone recognises when an emergency call is made to Triple Zero (000 and 112), and if not already activated, activates the telephone’s location service functions.
  • The smartphone assesses the location information available, using device-based hybrid methods, which combine GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile network information, and other sensor inputs to calculate the caller’s location.
  • Once the device’s location is calculated, the smartphone automatically sends an SMS with the estimated location to the Triple Zero Emergency Call Service. This SMS is sent in the background while the caller speaks with the Emergency Service Organisation, and the caller is not required to do anything to enable the location information to be sent.
  • If the telephone’s location services were switched off at the time the call was initiated, AML will temporarily activate the location service for the duration of the emergency call.
  • It typically takes 25 seconds or less for the caller’s location to be calculated and sent to Triple Zero.
  • When the emergency call has finished AML will be de-activated.

The service allows outdoor mobile phones to be narrowed down to a 5m radius, and indoor, to around 25m.

The service doesn’t need to be specially activated (or deactivated) – it will activate automatically when dialling 000 (or 112), and deactivate automatically at the conclusion of the call.

Check triplezero.gov.au to confirm whether your device and service are compatible and for instructions on how to make Advanced Mobile Location work, including updating your device to the latest software build. In simple terms, these are the minimum requirements:

  • AML works with Android telephones (version 4.1 and higher, with Google Play Services installed).
  • AML works with iPhones running iOS 14.3 or later and Apple Watch GPS + Cellular devices running watchOS 7.2 or later.

Obviously, to call 000 you must have cell reception when you dial – if you are not within coverage of your own provider, but another provider does have reception there, your phone will “camp on” to the other network to make the call. In these cases, AML will not activate, but the 000 call will proceed as normal.