How to use the emergencySMS service

Step 1.

Register your mobile phone with the service before an emergency happens.

Important: You will need to register again if you change your mobile phone numbers.

Step 2.

If an emergency happens we advise you only to use SMS to contact the emergency services if you have no other option. This is because it will take longer than other methods such as 999 or 18000

When you need to send an SMS text message to 999 and you cannot use the standard voice 999 service or the Text Relay 18000 service create an SMS message containing the details below:

Need Ambulance, Coastguard, Fire Rescue, or Police
Briefly, what is the problem
Exactly where is it
Give the name of road and town

Plus more information like:
  • house number; or
  • nearby landmarks or main roads

For example your SMS text message might read:

'ambulance. man having a heart attack. outside post office. valley road watford'

If you include this information the emergency services will not have to ask as many questions and will be able to respond quicker.

Please be as accurate as possible when giving the location. The better your information is the faster the emergency services will be able to send help.

Step 3.

Now send the SMS message to 999.

Step 4.

The emergency service will reply to you asking either for more information or telling you that help is on the way.

Do not assume that your message has been received until you get a message back from the emergency service, an SMS 'Delivery Report' does not mean your message has been received.

It can take around 2 minutes for you to get a reply to your emergency message. If you have not received a reply within 3 minutes then we advise you to send another message straight away.

BSL Video – How the emergencySMS service works(2min 5sec)

Please note: There is no sound on this video