Saturday, 30 June 2012

Happy Birthday 999 - 75 years today

For those outside of the UK 999 is the UK Emergencies services number for Fire, Police, Ambulance and Coast Guard. Other Countries have selections of numbers with the most widely recognised in Europe 112 and in the USA 911. There is a nice little potted history on Wikipedia and an article in yesterday's Metro Newspaper, a capture of the printed article below.

Metro Newspaper article Friday 29th June 2012, Copyright Associated Newspaper Ltd

I have had the privilege to work on the technical implementation of the Operator Services and Emergency Services feature on the UK network, on three occasions:

  • The first in the  mid-1980s in the Plessey Poole factory on the System X Operator Services Subsystem (OSS), with a talented team developing the technology for the core exchange and the Operator console and voice distribution elements.
  • The second occasion in the early 1990s with Mercury Communications Operator Services, implementing the OSS in the carrier network to handle all the operator services, from Directory Enquiries, Operator Assistance, and of course Emergency Services. This gave me a real insight and respect for those taking the calls from the public, their cool, calm and professionalism of the operators and emergencies services bureaux staff in handling customers at their most vulnerable. It also taught me respect for the service itself and I have to say a sprinkling of contempt for those members of the public who would misuse it making unnecessary calls for trivial and quite frankly stupid things such as asking for a taxi!
  • The third occasion I have been fortunate to be part of the very important standardisation process for the migration of the emergencies services handling to the VoIP world, with the UK independent standards body, the NICC Emergency Services Location group, and helped to produce the UK standard for this. This taught me another valuable lesson in the dedication and free contribution a number of very committed and talented people from around the world make to ensure the safety of the public.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY - 999!

2 comments:

Mike Keal said...

I celebrated with a typically busy day shift dispatching ambulances in east Lincolnshire. I did pause to wonder whether each of our 75th anniversary callers should get a special badge...

Fond memories of that early 90s project and of the people we were fortunate to work with.

Neill said...

Thanks Mike! Indeed those late nights in Birmingham.... Dick in Dock Street in the Dark.... Oh the Fun we had with the sprinkling of scare calls whilst Jaz changed routes on the switches... A few tense but rewarding memories!