State helpline 1247
Why was the State helpline set up?
With the establishment of the state of emergency in Estonia due to the coronavirus, people's need for information increased dramatically. The number of information calls to 112 and the family doctor's consultation line 1220 multiplied rapidly and clogged the lines for those in need of quick help. In order for people to receive nationally approved information on emergency restrictions and the coronavirus, a single information hotline had to be set up.
Only four days after the declaration of the state of emergency, on March 16, the Emergency Response Centre opened the information hotline 1247.
The purpose of the single information number was to answer questions about the emergency situation and thus reduce the burden on the emergency number 112 and the family doctors’ consultation line 1220. The number 1247 was printed on all national information materials, displayed on public authorities' websites and quickly became very familiar to people.
The state helpline operates as part of the state information service, where the institution holding the information forwards it to the content management platform Taru (Hive). When searching the Taru, the operator responding to the state helpline finds the most up-to-date information to give to the caller. Questions that are not answered in Taru, are in turn forwarded through Taru to the relevant authority, where the responsible official must leave the answer, which is visible to 1247 operators and which can also be used by the talk-robot.
The number 1247 provides reliable information on matters concerning public authorities or national arrangements for the coronavirus. The hotline 1247 focuses on all the topics that are not covered by the emergency number 112 and the family doctors’ consultation line 1220.
The number of calls to the number 1247 at the beginning of the emergency was over 2000 calls per day (for comparison, the average number of calls to the emergency number 112 days is about 2600 per day). During the summer months, the load dropped to a few hundred calls a day. After the end of the emergency, the number 1247 was named the State helpline and its purpose is to be a single contact point for people to receive official information related to the state. In the autumn, when the spread of the coronavirus picked up again, the load of calls also increased and we also involved volunteers in providing information. One year after the opening of 1247, 170,000 calls have been handled and the call load is comparable to the load during the 2020 state of emergency. It is clear that people's need for reliable information from one channel is constant.
At the beginning of 2021, the existing Road helpline, Environmental helpline and Rescue field helpline joined the State helpline 1247. This step makes communication with the state much more convenient for the client.