emergency services

After an initial proposal from the telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) in April last year, the government has decided to go ahead with setting 112 as a common emergency number which can be used for contacting police, fire, and ambulance services, reports Economic Times. Users will be soon able to call 112 from their mobile or landline even if their services are debarred or temporarily suspended.

Currently citizens use 100 for police, 101 for fire brigade, 102 for ambulance, and 108 for emergency disaster management. These numbers will continue to be available alongside 112 for at least one year, and will eventually be replaced once the government feels that 112 ‘has been widely accepted’, added the report.

A facility similar to a call centre will be setup under 112, which will be operated by representatives speaking in Hindi, English and the local languages. The government is also expected to notify the public about the integrated connectivity for all emergency services through 112.

112 is an international standard: Note that 112 is considered as a GSM standard for emergency services across countries in the European Union and several other countries across continents. Subsequently, in 2008, the International Telecommunication Union had also recommended the use of 112 or 911 as a ‘single initial emergency number; it added that these numbers should be allowed to be dialed on most GSM phones even if the phone is locked.

TRAI recommend use of 112: In April 2015, the TRAI came out with a consultation paper (pdf) for the implementation of a single number based integrated emergency communication and response system (IECRS). It recommended that all 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.

It also stated that calls made to 100 (police), 101 (fire), 102 (ambulance) and 108 (emergency disaster management) will have to be rerouted to 112 for termination with an announcement to the caller to dial 112 as emergency number in the future.

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 under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0