24 seconds. This is how long the pre-recorded Covid message is when you contact Triple 0. For anyone at home with an emergency, these 24 seconds will feel like forever.

In these 24 seconds, Perth parents Peter and Vicky Lade nearly lost their nine-year-old daughter. Last week Mahalia Lade was knocked out after she accidentally hit her head in her family’s backyard spa. Her hair then got stuck in the bottom of the spa and she became trapped.

Her parents pulled her out of the spa unconscious and her body blue. As Vicky dialled Triple 0, Peter desperately tried to administer CPR on his daughter.

However, instead of being put in touch with an operator immediately, she reached a prerecorded warning about Covid.

A 24-second wait 

The message goes for 24 seconds, which, in instances like Mahalia’s, can be a matter of life or death. Luckily her father was able to administer CPR during these precious seconds.

As Ms Lade tells 7News, she thought she had dialled the wrong number.

I was just screaming and my other daughter was screaming and I grabbed my phone to dial triple-0 and I was still screaming.

It says, ‘You have dialled emergency triple zero. If you require information in relation to COVID-19 please visit healthdirect.gov.au, and I thought to myself, I’ve rung the wrong number.”

Luckily, Mahalia’s father was able to save her through CPR and, after two nights in intensive care at the Perth Children’s Hospital, she is back at home.

Everything was in slow motion … it would have been over in a minute by the time I got through … I had rung twice.

We lost so much time and if Pete didn’t know CPR, we wouldn’t have had the outcome we have now.”

Message to be scrapped today

The pre-recorded message plays nationwide and was implemented by the federal government.

I am in Queensland and reached the same message when I had to ring Triple 0 two weeks ago. Like Ms. Lade, I thought I had rung the wrong number in a state of panic. Waiting for that message to end felt like hours.

After Mahalia’s story came to light, thousands of others shared similar stories through social media.

According to 7News, the 24-second recording was a temporary measure, put in place on 14 January 2022.

Today will be the last day we have to listen to it. After a review on Thursday, a decision was made to remove it this morning.

The Lades are not only relieved that Peter knew CPR and was able to save his daughter during those precious moments, but that other families won’t have to experience this same fear and panic as they wait for the pre-recording to end.

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Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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