India adopts ‘112’ as the single phone number for all emergencies

The number 112, equivalent of the American 911, has been adopted as the single emergency number for India. People can now just dial the single-number ‘112’ for securing help during emergency situations such as availing services of police, ambulance and the fire department. All existing emergency numbers such as 100, 101, 102 and 108 will be phased out within a year of rolling out 112, depending upon the awareness about this new facility. The proposal to have a single number for various emergency services has been approved by the inter-ministerial panel.

In India, different emergency communication and response systems are in place — police (100), fire brigade (101), ambulance (102) and Emergency Disaster Management (108). Also, a number of states have notified various helpline numbers for assistance to special categories of citizens, like Woman in Distress – 181 (Delhi), Missing Children and Women – 1094 (Delhi), Crime Against Women – 1096 (Delhi), Police Headquarters helpline – 1090 (Uttar Pradesh) etc.

A person in distress will now only need to call 112, which will direct the call to concerned departments immediately for help. The service will also be accessible even through those SIMs and landlines whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended. A user will be able to make communication even through SMS and the system will learn about the location of the caller that will be shared with the nearest help centre. The service will be operated by a call centre like facility, which will have representatives speaking in Hindi, English and the local language