Monday, November 7

112? Nein, nein, nein!


A very British emergency, a very British response.
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European bureaucrats are pushing to force Britain to drop our 999 emergency number and replace it with the German equivalent, 112.
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In a breathtaking display of arrogance, European Commissioner Viviane Reding, right, said she was "willing to make full use of the Commission's powers to force through the change."
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Brussels is determined to impose 112 as the standard emergency number across the continent of Europe and has threatened to take Britain to court unless we speed up the changeover in this country.
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The new number is up and running in all 25 member states and Brussels freely admits that the ultimate aim is to phase out 999 as soon as possible.
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Britain invented the concept of a universal emergency telephone number and 999 was introduced on June 30, 1937.
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In 1982, Brussels decided that all EU nations should adopt 112, the emergency number which Germany had been using since only 1973. Italy later followed Germany and when the decision was taken in 1982, they were the only countries using 112.
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112 has been in use in Britain since 1993, in tandem with 999. However, British Telecom estimates that at most only five per cent of emergency callers use 112 - might we be so bold as to suggest that possibly those few calls which are using 112 are probably made by overseas visitors?
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The Automobile Association refuses to publish the number 112, for fear of causing confusion amongst motorists that could endanger lives in an emergency situation.
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A European Commission spokesperson said: "Although public awareness of the existence of 112 is growing, more could be done to publicise it. If Britain fails to do so, it could be taken before the European Court of Justice and fined."
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It does not take a genius to realise that people calling for help are likely to be in a panic - one would not be calling if it wasn't an emergency after all. The very last thing such people need is to have to consider a number change and to have to stop and think about what to do.
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Dialling 999 in emergencies is instinctive to the British; changing it at this point will undoubtedly do more harm than good and could even cost lives.
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Ms Reding, we have a message for you - 112? Nein, nein, nein!
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Which service do you require? A very British one!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I have to admit that one of the things that I did first after my travel plans were made to visit the UK for the first time was to check for any emergency numbers that I might need during my travels. I was very glad to see that the UK emergency number was 999 and so was very similar to our US 911 number. Might even be easy enough for me to remember! We have a couple of other numbers over here in the states that you call for information 411 and also 555.1212 If I have to remember to call 112 also I might make the mistake of calling for the US information for a number. If your system is working and you have the back up system also. I don't see how you can be in violations of the EU laws to have the number up and running. If you chose to have both numbers, isn't that a good thing? I mean, my mother is almost 70 years old if she has to remember a new number at her time of life (not that she couldn't but why?) I think that in a stressful emergency she might just fall back on the old standby. I wish you good luck in your endeavors to remain British during your annexation by the EU.