112 will be India’s all-in-one national emergency number

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New Delhi: Just like ‘911’ in the US, Indians too will soon be able to dial a single number in emergency situations and avail the services of police, ambulance, or the fire department. The Telecom Commission has accepted TRAI’s recommendation of making ‘112’ as the official all-in-one emergency number in the country and phasing out all the existing emergency numbers within a year of roll out. 

But what is an emergency number and what would it mean to have the ‘911’-like emergency number in India? Here is everything you need to know about the new all-in-one emergency number:

1. What is an emergency number?

An emergency number is to help citizens connect to the most important services in any city – be it health, crime, or calamity. Instead of wasting time in asking people for help during crucial conditions, an all-in-one emergency number helps gain those precious minutes following an accident, or save lives if a building catches fire, or even in cases of thefts.

2. How many emergency numbers currently exist in India?

At present, there are different emergency numbers for different purposes in India including- police ‘100’, fire brigade ‘101’, ambulance ‘102’, and Emergency Disaster Management ‘108’. There are also some state-specific helpline numbers for providing assistance to special categories of citizens like Woman in distress – ‘181 (Delhi), Missing Children and
Women – 1094 (Delhi), Crime Against Women – 1096 (Delhi), Police Headquarter helpline – 1090 (Uttar Pradesh) etc.

3. What will a single all-in-one emergency number mean?

When ‘112’ is rolled out in the coming months, it would help citizens raise an alarm about distressing situations in a very convenient manner and also make authorities respond promptly. For example, for people like the elderly, a single number would connect them to both the police or the ambulance in unexpected situations. This will also help the senior citizens avoid the pain of remembering multiple numbers respond to untoward incidents in a timely manner.

4. How will the new emergency number work?

All that one needs to do is call ‘112’ and the representative will direct you to the concerned department immediately for help. ‘112’ can be dialled from both mobile phones and landlines. The service will also be made accessible to those SIMs or landlines whose outgoing call facility has been barred or temporarily suspended. Users will also be able to make communication through SMS and the responding system will detect location of the caller and share it with the nearest help center. The service will be operated in call center-like facility and representatives will be able to provide support in Hindi, English, and other local languages.

5. What will happen to the existing emergency numbers?

All the existing emergency numbers, including the state-specific ones will be phased out within a year of implementing the new ‘112’ number. This will be done based on the awareness about the new number.

6. When will the government implement the new emergency number?

Unlike the earlier estimated time of one year, the new number will be rolled out within months.