“Hello, help, help. I’ve been slashed by a machete.”
It is the stuff of nightmares – having someone turn up at your house in the middle of the night, banging on the door and injured.
But for Bendigo woman Lotty Ryland that was her reality at 12.30am.
“I heard a bang, bang on my door so I looked out my window,” she said.
A tall, broad man was standing there, yelling “hello, help, help”.
Miss Ryland was at home by herself with her partner at work and her two young children – a newborn and a toddler – asleep inside.
For a brief moment it crossed her mind not to answer the call, thinking it could have been a trick or someone trying to get inside her house.
But then, she thought, it could have also been the police.
“I just had a gut feeling that something was wrong and I had to act on it,” she said.
“But also to protect my family as well.”
It wasn’t until she heard the words, “I’ve been slashed by a machete” that she went into panic mode and dialed triple-0.
“I started to freak out that he would come in the house, but I lost sight of him,” she said.
“I didn’t know what was happening – where he was or who had the machete.”
Within minutes she had police calling her and both officers and triple-0 phone operators assuring her she had done the right thing, to keep calm and to not open the door.
The East Bendigo resident is sharing her story to thank the police who responded so quick, but also so others who might end up in her situation would know what to do.
“It was horrendous to be put in that position and not know what to do,” she said.
“I didn’t know if he was making it up – I couldn’t see him. I was really hesitant, especially with a newborn and a toddler inside.”
Three police vans with six officers arrived within five minutes of Miss Ryland calling for help.
“As soon as I saw the divvy van, I felt safe instantly,” she said.
“They were fantastic.”
Police remained in the street for almost three hours, but no official complaint was made by either parties involved.
While Miss Ryland still doesn’t know if a machete was involved, the man did indeed have slashes to his arms and a second was also injured.
A spokesperson for Ambulance Victoria said paramedics also attended and took two men, one in his 40s and another in his 50s, to Bendigo Health.
Both were in a stable condition and had suffered upper body injuries.
Hours after the ordeal, Miss Ryland was still left shaken and described the night as traumatic.
“I just couldn’t believe it – I thought, ‘why me?’,” she said.
“It was scary stuff.”
What to do if you find yourself in an emergency
One of the most important pieces of information you can give a triple-0 calltaker during an emergency is the address of where you need help, says the agency responsible for handling the calls.
An ESTA spokesperson said in situations like the one Miss Ryland found herself in, it was important to stay as calm as possible and keep yourself away from any danger.
“Taking deep breaths can assist with staying calm,” they said.
“As soon as the operator knows where and what your emergency is, help will be organised.”
Other important advice in an emergency situation included:
- If you are calling from a mobile and you are unsure of your exact location, you can provide the operator with the nearest landmark, such as a shopping centre.
- Speak slowly and calmly as possible to the operator.
- Answer the call-takers questions as best you can. This is so the operator can gather as much information as possible and organise the appropriate help. This will not delay an emergency response.
- If your emergency call is regarding someone you believe to be committing an offence, it’s good for police to have a description of the person of interest. Identifying information that you could provide the operator about the person of interest is what they were wearing or what they may be carrying.
- If your emergency call involves a vehicle, it’s good to provide your operator with the vehicle description. For example, this could include the number plate of the vehicle or its model and colour.
- When you call triple zero for police, the operator will ask you for your details as someone may need to call you again. However, you can remain anonymous.
- Don’t hang up until advised to do so by the call-taker.