EMRI 108 ambulance services were stopped for two hours on Monday on receipt of a hoax call that a bomb was planted at GVK EMRI centre at Kompally on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

The caller, who claimed to be a police Sub Inspector “alerted” the staff working at the call centre about possibility of bomb exploding in the Emergency Response Centre in about half-an-hour.

The staff vacated the premises as per police advice.

All the 108 ambulances were moved to nearest police stations and people were requested through electronic media to contact local police stations for emergency help and usage of 108 ambulances.

After a thorough check of the premises by the bomb squad, police allowed personnel to enter the premises and the call centre started functioning again.

The services, which were not interrupted even during critical situations like the numerous bandhs and curfew in Hyderabad, floods and other natural disasters, were stopped for the first time in five years for about two hours which underscores the menace of malicious and hoax calls.

GVK EMRI Regional Manager Hemanta Kumar Bhattu noted that 10,54,441 (i.e., 76 per cent of the total calls), received by the centre during May, were found to be ineffective calls. These include: wrong calls, nuisance calls, abusive calls, child and prank calls.

He appealed to the public not to resort to such calls and to use the service with a sense of responsibility.