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04/12/2017

Finland launches 112 SMS service

Registration to the service, launched on 1 December, is required.


Emergency SMS can now be sent to the 112 number – service users are required to register in advance

The emergency notification can now be sent as an SMS to the emergency number 112. Users are required by law to register in advance with the Emergency SMS Service.

The national emergency SMS number 112 will be in use as of 1 December.

According to Marko Nieminen, ERC Service Director, the Emergency SMS Service is primarily designed for individuals who cannot hear or produce speech. However, anyone can sign up for the service.

 

Registration in advance required by law

During law preparation, registration with the Emergency SMS Service was considered important in order to prevent vandalism and secure access to the service.

- Emergency SMS messages can only be sent from telephone numbers that have been registered in advance. Individuals can sign up for the service on the suomi.fi website, and it requires strong identification, using for example bank identifiers or the Mobile Certificate, Nieminen points out.

The regional emergency SMS numbers used by the special groups until now will be will taken out of use at the end of 2018. The long transition period is a way to ensure that no one is left without emergency assistance due to the change of number.

- Towards the end of 2018, an automatic reply message will be attached to regional emergency SMS numbers, directing people to register as users of the new Emergency SMS Service.

ERC operators need to use SMS messages to ask the same basic information from the individual sending an emergency SMS as from those making an emergency call and to make a statutory risk assessment on whether to dispatch emergency assistance or not.

- In case of emergency, you should ensure that you receive help as quickly as possible by sending as much information as you can in the very first SMS message you are sending. The processing time of an emergency notification will increase if several messages need to be sent back and forth, Nieminen points out.

Anyone can sign up for the Emergency SMS Service. However, Nieminen points out that it is always best to call 112 in an emergency, if possible.

 

Improvement of services for special groups

According to Marko Nieminen, with the introduction of national emergency SMS number, the Emergency Response Centre Administration primarily wants to guarantee access to emergency services for special groups. Initiating the use of a national 112 emergency SMS message is a major improvement in the accessibility of emergency services.

- At the moment, regional numbers are in use for emergency SMS messages. The introduction of the same emergency number that almost every Finn already knows means a major improvement in the service, Nieminen says.

In communications related to the Emergency SMS Service, the Emergency Response Centre Administration has worked in close collaboration with the Finnish Association of the Deaf and the Finnish Federation of Hard of Hearing.

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