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Google launches emergency search
Fri, 12th Nov 2010
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Following a successful launch in the US, Google has launched special search results for searches relating to poisoning and suicide in New Zealand.

The service has been launched for those who quickly need to find the right number for the right service, “chances are you need to find it fast” says Google.

If you search on google.co.nz for a term like “poisoning”, you'll see a special search result at the very top of the page — a large red phone icon and the words: "For a poison emergency in New Zealand call 0800 764 766.”

A search for certain terms related to suicide will turn up a large red phone icon and the words:  “Need help? In New Zealand, call 0800 543 354”. This number puts you through to LifeLine New Zealand.

The service was launched in the US last year after Google's Roni Zeiger received an email from a mother who had trouble finding the phone number for the poisonings hotline after her daughter accidentally ingested something potentially poisonous (she was fine). 

“People come to Google to search for information. Particularly in times of crisis, it's especially important for them to find the crucial information they're looking for, and find it fast, and these special search results can save precious moments,” Zeiger said.

New Zealand partners, LifeLine New Zealand and the New Zealand National Poisons Centre, have welcomed the move.

New Zealand National Poisons Centre spokesperson Lucy Shieffelbien said, “Currently, the NPC receives around 35,000 enquiries each year but believes there are many more people who do not call during a poisoning emergency. This could be due to a lack of awareness about the free 24/7 Poisons Centre service, not recognising that poisonings can be an emergency or simply not knowing where to find the number.”