First launched in 1937, after the deaths of five women took place at a London surgeons 999 is probably the most important phone number in the whole of the UK and was in fact the first ever emergency number in the world, since that date the service receives an average of 597,000 calls a week, which rounds up to about 31 million calls a year, 98% of which are answered within a five second period.
Those figures are absolutely stunning and make our emergency service as good as it can possible be, reducing response times dramatically. Out of all of the calls passes to the emergency services 52% go to the police, 41% to the ambulance service, 6% to fire and rescue and the remaining 1% to the coastguard and cave and mountain services.
In case you’re wondering there was a very good reason why the number 999 was first chose, firstly it’s easy to remember and secondly in the age of rotary dial phones 9 was at the end of the dial making it more or less impossible to dial by accident.
But the number isn’t always used for the right purposes, with 85,000 calls daily about children being children or accidental pocket dials, as you can see from the video below:
Happy Birthday 999, we hope for many more effective years.