The Korea Herald


No more 119 ‘taxis’ for drunks

By 이종민

Published : May 17, 2011 - 18:41

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Emergency response crews can deny drunks asking for a ride home or others trying to misuse the system, said the state’s disaster control center on Tuesday.

According to a revised bill to take effect Sept. 9, response crews can also deny service at their discretion to those asking for treatment for bruises, cuts and scrapes.

Those denied service either by phone or on the scene will receive a letter of confirmation.

Last year there were 17,692 cases, out of a total 1,481,379, in which intoxicated individuals called 119 and received transportation, said a NEMA official.

“Of those, a small portion involved critical situations, but the majority of callers were just drunk,” he added.

The National Emergency Management Agency has also dispatched crews to help individuals locked out of their home.

The new rescue legislation also states that response crews can deny service to those asking for a ride to hospital for a routine check up, a common cold and toothaches.

According to officials, rescue teams will clear obstructions deemed hazardous and life threatening, but will not be dispatched to clear regular obstacles. Teams will also respond to animal hazard scenes such as bee hives, wild boars and snakes, but will not rescue a kitten out of a tree or a puppy out of a hole.

By Robert Lee (