SES Unit Manager Chris Tarran is urging members of the community to call triple-zero only in times of emergency rather than directly contacting volunteers,
Mr Tarran was spending his long weekend in Port Neill when a storm hit, causing dangerous situations on the road.
He was later informed that a community member had attempted to contact him through his place of work in Cleve to report an emergency situation.
Because he was not contacted via his pager, he was unaware of the situation.
Mr Tarran said this was not uncommon in the area, and that he had heard similar stories from many other emergency responders in the community.
While it may seem quicker to directly contact volunteers, he said it could take longer to respond and was a risky decision to make.
“Ringing an individual volunteer is a single point of failure,” he said.
“What happens, for example, if that person is away, out of range or not on call?”
He said while he was happy to respond to non-emergency questions himself, calling anyone other than triple-zero in emergencies was “fraught with danger.”
“For life or property threatening emergencies the number is always triple zero.”
Every emergency call out needs to be logged on a system to guarantee the appropriate response.
When an emergency response volunteer is personally informed of an emergency, they must call the number themselves if nobody else has done so.
This delays the response process rather than speeding it up.
Mr Tarran said system itself, which had been refined over the last 20-30 years, was “pretty reliable.”
While Mr Tarran said he understood the necessity of providing an address to a triple-zero operator could be “frustrating” when emergencies often happened along country roads, providing an estimated distance from a town would be enough information to send a response team.
For lower priority or routine matters the Police have an attendance line (131 444) and Crimestoppers (1800 333 000).
The State Emergency Service have 132 500 for non-life threatening weather and rescue situations.
The SA Ambulance Service, Metropolitan Fire Service and Country Fire Service are always called using 000.
More information about asking for assistance can be found on respective emergency service websites.