Hertfordshire residents are being alerted to an emergency call service – Make Yourself Heard – which enables callers in danger to silently raise the alarm.
The Silent Solution system prompts 999 callers to press 55 on their mobile phones to signify to the operator that they are unable to talk for fear of being overheard by their potential attackers.
Although the system has been in operation since 2002, it is not well known, prompting an awareness drive this week.
Welcoming this step is Hertfordshire County Council’s Chief Fire Officer, Darryl Keen who has been involved in developing the UK’s 999 operating system to provide the most effective and efficient service possible for the public.
Darryl, who chairs the 999 Liaison Committee (999LC) which oversees the relationship between the UK emergency services and BT, said: ‘The 999 Silent Solution is provided by the Metropolitan Police and although it is not new, it is one of the UK’s best kept secrets.
‘The service provides an automated process whereby a specific set of instructions are provided to callers who are otherwise unable to make a sound when they dial 999. This could be due to the potential victim being within earshot of a possible attacker, enabling them to raise a silent alarm.
‘My direct involvement, as chair of the 999LC is to ensure that this, and a range of other systems and capabilities, provides people in the UK with the emergency response that they need.’
Other recent improvements to the 999 system include Advanced Mobile Location which takes the GPS coordinates from mobile phones and provides these directly to emergency service control rooms to provide much improved accuracy of caller locations.
Also highlighting the Silent 999 Call service is Hertfordshire County Council’s Partnership Manager for Domestic Abuse, Sarah Taylor, who said: ‘We would like to urge anyone in Hertfordshire affected by domestic abuse and needing emergency police assistance but unable to speak, to Make Yourself Heard by dialling 999, listening to the operator and responding by coughing or tapping the handset.
‘If unable to do this, make sure you press 55 when prompted so that the operator knows the call is genuine and can ensure your call gets through to the police.
‘The Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership fully supports #MakeYourselfHeard, raising awareness of the #SilentSolution system for mobile phones, in what is also National Stalking Awareness Week. The partnership welcomes any initiative which helps to improve responses and provide better support to anyone in need, reducing harm and potentially saving lives.”
For further information download the Silent solution guide.