The opening sequence of an emergency call influences the efficiency of the ambulance dispatch time. The greeting sequences in 105 calls to a South African emergency service were analysed. Initial results suggested the advantage of a specific two-part opening sequence. An on-site experiment aimed at improving call efficiency was conducted during one shift (1100 calls). Results indicated reduced conversational repairs and a significant reduction of 4 seconds in mean call length. Implications for systems and training are derived.