If you are unable to make voice calls, it is possible to contact the emergency services by text message. This is called the emergency SMS service. This has also proved valuable for people in remote environments where you may not have enough signal to make a phone call, but you may be able to send a text as they need less bandwidth to be sent.
To use the emergency SMS service, you will need to resister your mobile phone beforehand.
- You can register your mobile by texting the word ‘register’ to 999. (if you change your phone number, you will need to register again)
- You will get an automated reply which you need to respond to. (this is to confirm you would like to register)
- You will then get a text confirming that your mobile is now registered
- Do not text anything else and there is no need to make a test call.
It is only recommended to use emergency SMS to contact the emergency services if you have no other option, as it will take longer than the standard 999 voice service.
If using the emergency SMS service, it is important to include the following details in your text message:
- Which service you need: ambulance, police, fire or coastguard.
- What the emergency is: a brief explanation.
- Where the emergency is: be as precise as possible as the better your information is, the faster the emergency services will be able to send help.
The emergency service will reply to you either asking for more information or telling you that help is on the way. It is important to not assume that your message has been delivered until you receive a reply.