There may come a time in everyone’s life when you need to call the emergency services, but it might put you or those around you in even more danger by talking.
When you call 999, an operator asks which service you require. If you remain silent and it’s an emergency, you’ll be asked to cough or make some other audible sound without speaking.
But what are you supposed to do if making any noise at all might alert an attacker to your presence and so you need to remain silent?
The answer is to dial ‘55’.
Emergency services have previously announced that if they receive a 999 (or 112) call but hear nothing on the end of the line, they won’t automatically investigate it.
But they’ve recently reiterated how those in an emergency can alert the police without making a sound.
The correct procedure is called Silent Solutions but very few people know it exists.
If after calling 999 you haven’t been able to signal to the operator that your call is an emergency by coughing, you’ll be put through to an operating system.
What you then have to do if you're in danger is dial ‘55’, otherwise the call will be ended.
A police spokesperson said: “Please do not think that just because you dial 999 that police will attend.
“We totally understand that sometimes people are unable or too afraid to talk, however it must be clear that we will not routinely attend a silent 999 call,” he explained to the Express and Echo.
The reason is that the emergency services don’t know whether the call was made accidentally, perhaps after mis-dialling.
It is hoped that by spreading awareness of the procedure, the emergency services will be able to act more efficiently and save lives.Reuse content