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Contact 999 by SMS text

The emergency SMS service has been developed by Action on Hearing Loss, BT, Cable & Wireless, the Department of Communities and Local Government, OFCOM, the UK emergency services and all mobile network operators.

What is emergencySMS?

If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone. Emergency SMS is part of the standard 999 service which has been designed specifically for people with hearing loss or difficulty with speech.

Since September 2009, the emergencySMS service has successfully handled hundreds of real emergency calls. Thanks to this service criminals have been arrested, lives have been saved and babies have been born safely.

What is an emergency?

Please do not send test or non-emergency texts – only use emergencySMS for real emergencies.

For example, if:

• someone’s life is at risk
• a crime is happening now
• someone is injured or threatened
• there is a fire or people are trapped
• you need an ambulance urgently
• someone is in trouble on the cliffs, on the shoreline or is missing at sea.

This service works throughout the UK on all mobile networks, it cannot be used from abroad.

How do I use emergencySMS?

You will only be able to use this service if you have registered with emergencySMS first.

Register now: don’t wait for an emergency.

To register, text ‘register’ to 999. You will get a reply – then follow the instructions you are sent.

In an emergency

Text 999. We need to know:
Who? Police, Ambulance, Fire and Rescue or Coastguard.
What? Briefly, what is the problem.
Where? Exactly where the problem is happening – give the name of the road, house number, postcode or nearby landmark, if possible.

What happens next?

The emergency service will either ask for more information or will tell you that help is on the way.
Don’t assume that your message has been received until the emergency service sends a message back.
It will usually take about two minutes before you get a reply. If you don’t get a reply within three minutes, please try again or find other ways of getting help.

For more information, visit: www.emergencysms.org.uk and www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/esms

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