What You Didn’t Know About The 999 Emergency Number

What You Didn’t Know About The 999 Emergency Number

The 999 emergency number is renowned as the oldest automatic telephone service made for emergencies. The emergency number was first used in 1936 in, London and ever since, more emergency numbers such as 911, 112, and 101 were introduced.

The 999 emergency call was introduced due to the 1935 disaster where five women were killed in a fire in Wimpole Street, London. The emergency service is meant to cater to emergencies requiring the police, fire brigade, ambulance services, or coastguards.

However, there are some interesting facts you might need to know about the oldest emergency number in the world;

How many 999 emergency calls are made in a day?

When the emergency number service began in 1936, a total of 1,000 calls were made in the first week. Since it was a new way to seek help, people were calling the emergency number for all sorts of things, both emergency and non-emergency.

Nowadays, the service records over 33 million calls every year, translating to over 93,000 emergency calls every day. New Year’s Eve is regarded as the busiest day of the year for 999 emergency call dispatchers as they record over 9,000 calls every hour.

This has even lead to the emergency service hiring extra emergency call dispatchers for New Year’s Eve.

Which is the most sought-after emergency service for 999 emergency calls?

Over half of the 999 emergency calls made by British citizens every day are directed to the police emergency services.

The second most requested emergency services being the ambulance services, followed by the fire brigade. The coastguard is the least requested emergency service in the United Kingdom.

Which cities were the first to introduce the 999 emergency services?

The emergency service was first deployed in London, the place it was developed. Glasgow was the second city in the United Kingdom to adopt the 999 emergency number.

The emergency service has gone through a gradual introduction to the rest of the country. It was later made available for the whole country in 1976.

Which other countries use the 999 emergency number?

Apart from the United Kingdom, several other countries adopted the 999 emergency call system. They include Kenya, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Swaziland, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ghana, Botswana, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Macau, Malaysia, Qatar, Mauritius, Ireland, and Poland.

How quickly do the dispatchers answer 999 emergency calls?

Over 97% of the 999 emergency calls are answered within five seconds of calling.

Which other emergency numbers exist in the United Kingdom?

Although 999 is the primary emergency number for most people in the United States, it’s not the only one.

Residents can also contact 112 for emergencies, and 111 is made for non-emergency situations. It’s important to note that there is no prioritized emergency number in the United Kingdom; they are all answered the same way.

Which other services can I call the 999 emergency number for?

You can also get moorland, cave, and quicksand rescue, and also bomb disposal emergency services.


The 999 emergency number isn’t just the oldest automatic telephone service in the world, it’s also one of the most effective ones. Police officers and dispatchers get regular training on responding to all emergencies in the shortest time possible.

ICT professional (three decades of experience in a variety of industry and Governmental sectors, including the Emergency Services), Author, Serial Internet Entrepreneur, Investor, Smart Home Enthusiast, and Creator!



Follow the 10 Tips and Learn How to Correctly Use the 911, 999 & 112 Emergency Services Systems Worldwide. Ideal for mounting in family homes, workplaces, schools etc… 

Enter your Email Address below, to instantly gain access to the 10 Emergency Services Commandments

2 thoughts on “What You Didn’t Know About The 999 Emergency Number

    1. Hi Karen, Apologies for the typo, in UK, emergency dispatchers reach into five-figure mark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *