The emergencySMS service lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire rescue, or coastguard.
What is emergencySMS?
Simply by sending an SMS message to 999 you can call for help and the emergency services will be able to reply to you.
You'll need to register your mobile phone before you can use the emergencySMS service. See Registering your mobile phone for emergencySMS.
This is an emergency service and must only be used for emergencies, like when:
- life is at risk
- crime or trouble is happening now
- someone is injured or threatened
- a person committing crime is near
- there's a fire or people trapped
- you need an ambulance urgently
- someone is in trouble, or missing, at sea
- someone is in trouble on the cliffs or on the shoreline.
Registering your mobile phone for emergencySMS
You'll need to register your mobile phone before you can use the emergencySMS service. It's best to do that now, so you're ready before you need help.
Registering to use emergencySMS
1. Send the word 'register' in an SMS message to 999.
2. You'll then get the SMS messages below about the service.
After reading ALL this message, SEND THE WORD 'YES' TO 999 TO COMPLETE YOUR REGISTRATION - otherwise your phone isn't registered. In an emergency, you will know your message has been received ONLY when you get a reply from an emergency service; until then try other methods. Full details, Terms & Conditions are available at www.emergencysms.org.uk
3. When you've read these messages, reply by texting 'yes' to 999
4. You'll then get the SMS message below telling you that your mobile phone is registered or if there is a problem with your registration
Your telephone number is registered with the emergencySMS Service. Please don't reply to this message. For more information go to http://emergencySMS.org.uk.
Checking your registration
You can check your mobile phone registration by sending the word ‘register' in an SMS message to 999.
You will receive a SMS message telling you if your mobile phone is registered or if there's a problem with your registration.
If you try to register and don't get an SMS message from the emergencySMS service, please check with your mobile provider to make sure they support the emergencySMS service.
How to use the emergencySMS service
Make sure you've registered your mobile phone with the service before an emergency happens.
You'll need to register again if you change your mobile phone number.
If an emergency happens, we suggest you use SMS to contact the emergency services only if you've 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 can't use the standard voice 999 service or the Text Relay 18000 service, make sure your SMS message includes:
- which service you need. Ambulance, Coastguard, Fire Rescue, or Police?
- what's the emergency or problem?
- where's the emergency? Be precise, including the name of road and town and, if possible, more details like the house number or nearby landmarks or main roads.
Here's an example:
“ambulance. man having a heart attack. outside post office. valley road watford”
If you include this information the emergency services won't 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, the faster the emergency services will be able to send help.
Now send the SMS message to 999.
The emergency service will reply to you either asking for more information or telling you that help is on the way.
Don't assume that your message has been received until you get a message back from the emergency service, an SMS delivery report doesn't mean your message has been received.
It can take around two minutes for you to get a reply to your emergency message. If you haven't received a reply within three minutes, send another message.