999. It is the first phone number that many of us learn. It is ingrained in all of us – a direct line to the police, ambulance and fire services should we find ourselves in danger.
Many people assume that if you call 999, then it is guaranteed that help will be on its way – but this is not the case for silent calls. The emergency services do not always respond to silent calls, because there are too many.
Silent calls happen for two main reasons – accidental diallings, or if the caller is unable to speak.
So what should you do if you need the emergency services to attend but, for whatever reason, you cannot talk on the phone?
The answer is known as the Silent Solution.
The Silent Solution should be used in situations where it is unsafe to speak or if the caller is unable to speak. For example, it should be used if the caller is hiding from an attacker and speaking might reveal their hiding place, or if the caller has some kind of medical or mental condition that means that they cannot speak.
How To Use The Silent Solution
An operator will ask what service you require.
If you are silent, they will ask you to cough or make some other audible noise.
If you remain silent, you will be transferred to an automatic operating system.
A recording will ask you to dial 55 if you require the emergency services, or your call will be terminated.
This alerts the emergency services that you need help but that you are unable to speak.
The police will be dispatched.