New research out of Edith Cowan University has revealed Australian's inability to recognise life-threatening situations is placing unnecessary strain on medical first responders.
Lead Researcher Dr Brennan Mills and his team polled Australians on 17 different scenarios and asked them wether or not it was appropriate to call triple zero in each one.
Dr Mills called the results 'alarming' after only six percent of the 544 people questioned were able to identify the symptoms of meningitis and correctly assert that an ambulance should be called.
37 percent of people did not identify someone showing stroke symptoms as needing an ambulance.
"Even a short delay in getting a suspected stroke victim to hospital could result in brain damage," Dr Mills said.
"In these circumstances, as symptoms such as facial drooping, slurred speech and swallowing problems manifest, it's vital to call an ambulance."
Natasha Cole, a NSW Ambulance Station Officer currently stationed in Bourke says that some manner of uncertainty is to be expected.
"Obviously we understand that when people are ringing for triple zero, they're essentially ringing for help because they don't necessarily have the answers," Ms Cole said.
"Our 'is your urgency and emergency' campaign addresses exactly what people should do when they're unsure of what to do with certain healthcare issues."
"We're trying to ensure that people are making the right call and getting the right care."
While the triple zero number is reserved for serious emergencies, staff on the other end of the line can provide patients who are concerned with advice on how to proceed.
"Obviously, we have triple zero for what people would consider life threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, severe blood loss and other serious injuries."
"When you make a 000 call, the staff that answer are medical experts, so they can assess the patient and ensure they're provided with correct advice."
Ms Cole said that minor ailments that didn't require serious treatment can be handled either by the patient themselves, or by a local pharmacy.
Ms Cole also recommended calling Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 in the event that people were unsure about how to proceed.
"They provide registered nurses who can provide a definitive decision about where to go next and they'll urge you to call triple zero if you need that attention."
"As far as it comes to self education, recognising the signs of stroke or heart attack can be something that we can address when they dial triple zero, but also Healthdirect would be able to guide them on the appropriate pathways to take."