emergency services

The telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) has come out with a consultation paper (pdf) for the implementation of a single number based integrated emergency communication and response system (IECRS). Among the recommendations, the number ‘112’ should be adopted as the single emergency number in India. Calls made from a landline or mobile connection to the emergency number will be routed to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) which is akin to a call centre.

The number of PSAPs in a state or union territory will be decided by the respective state and union territories governments, however TRAI mentions that at least one PSAP must be present. Existing emergency helplines such as 100 (police), 101 (fire), 102 (ambulance) and 108 (emergency disaster management)  will have to be retained. Calls made to these numbers will have to be rerouted to 112 for termination with an announcement to the caller to dial 112 as emergency number in the future.

TRAI also says that access to the IECRS should be permitted to those mobile and landline phones where outgoing calls have been barred or service is suspended temporarily and that calls made to the IECRS should be prioritized in cellular mobile networks. The recommendations also add that IECRS should also have SMS-based access.

The paper also proposes that all telecom service providers will have to give location information  and details of a caller to the IECRS and proposes setting up four regional database centres in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. BSNL will be responsible for setting up these data centres and operating them. TRAI recommends that PSAP operators should be able to handle calls in Hindi, English and the local language of a state.

It’s worth noting that TRAI had asked Vodafone to stop using ‘111’ for customer services as it violates the national numbering plan and asked the operator to submit a compliance report by March 10. The paper also points out that they had considered ‘111’ to be used as the single emergency number.

Image source: Flickr user Eva the Weaver