The 11th February is European 112 Day, and this is the right time to recall a saying among those in emergency services: “You might know where you are and God might know where you are, but if emergency services don’t know where you are, I hope that you and God are on good terms.”
The European emergency service number 112 has struggled with emergency location accuracy since it was introduced into European law in 1991.
When 112 is dialled in Europe today, emergency services receive the caller’s location, on average, within a two-kilometre radius – an average range of accuracy that makes search and rescue virtually impossible.
There are many reported stories of people who died because they could not be located.
In some member states, this location information is sent by fax to the emergency services.
In Greece, an official report to the European Commission indicates it takes on average 28 minutes and 58 seconds to get this very inaccurate data.
Meanwhile, location services are used every day to order a taxi or a pizza to our front door.
A recent study, produced by Ptolemus as part of the EU-funded Help 112 project, showed that over the next 10 years, 7500 lives and 98 billion euros could be saved if emergency services could locate the incident more accurately.