The 999 service that we know today, was first set up 80 years ago on 30th June, 1937 – marking an unprecedented change in how the public can call for help. The service was introduced to help call handlers separate emergency calls from routine police reports. It is understood that the change was introduced following several fatalities that occurred, due to the fact that people were unable to get through as the lines were swamped with non-emergencies.
Today the 999 services take millions of calls each year, yet is perhaps one of the most overused and under-appreciated services, with one household in particular calling the ambulance service a staggering 595 times in one year. Last year the emergency services experienced crucial delays due to high demand, with those that required urgent attention having to wait whilst the call handlers sifted through less serious matters in order to get to those that truly needed help.
Here at Fire FM we congratulate the 999 service on their 80th anniversary and praise their hard work and dedication that goes into ensuring that people get the help they need as quickly as possible. However, we would like to remind everyone that 999 is for emergencies only and that 111 can be used for anything less. By calling the right number and ensuring that 999 is only for those in a state of emergency, it means that the emergency services will be able to work more efficiently and save more lives.