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Unable to make voice calls? Some people can contact 999 by SMS text

Although launched in 2009 the vast majority of people don’t realise they can contact 999 from their mobile using the text service.

The free EmergencySMS service enables deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK to send an SMS text message to the UK 999 where it will be passed to the Ambulance Service, Police, Fire & Rescue, or Coastguard. Simply by sending an SMS message to 999 you can call for help and the emergency services will be able to reply to you.

Chris Smith, Head of the IW NHS Trust Ambulance Service said “We are concerned that perhaps Islanders who are eligible for this service are not aware of its existence.  If you are aware of anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired please encourage them to register for this service, in case they need to access the emergency services.”

How do I use EmergencySMS?

  • You will need to register your mobile phone before using the EmergencySMS service
  • To register: Text ‘register’ to 999. You will get a reply – then follow the instructions you are sent.

In an Emergency

  • Text 999

They will need to know:

  • Which service you require: Ambulance, Police, Fire & Rescue or Coastguard
  • Briefly what the problem is
  • 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 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 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.

Please be advised that this service does not currently work with the Island’s NHS 111 service. Plans are in place for this to be available in the near future.

Further information can be found at http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/index.php

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