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Happy 80th birthday to the 999 service

BT is celebrating the 80th birthday of the 999 emergency service line, and while the vast majority of time it is a service to save lives, it seems there are a few people who don’t quite get it.

The service itself was started on 30 June 1937, after a fire in a London doctor’s surgery in November 1935 led to the death of five women. A committee was set up to identify how telephone operators’ could identify emergency calls more easily. The result was to set up a dedicated line, using a number which would be easily remembered nationwide.

BT has said that 35% of the 30 million calls answered each year do not involve actual requests for help. The majority of which are children playing with parents phones, someone accidentally dialling 999 when their phone is in their pocket say, or people who are just idiots.

Below, BT has shared with us a some of the transcripts from those who really should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. Some people are just plums:

Advisor: “Do you need fire, police or ambulance?”

Caller: “I’m sorry to call 999 but I was looking for 101 but I don’t know the number.”


Advisor: “Do you need fire, police or ambulance?”

Young caller: “Mountain Rescue please.”

Advisor: “Where are you?”

Young caller: “I’m on the top bunk and I can’t get down.”


Advisor: “Do you need fire, police or ambulance?”

Caller: “I need the police, I ordered a takeaway that cost me £30 and they took it to number six, when I live at number seven.”


Advisor: “Do you need fire, police or ambulance?”

Caller: “My laptop password won’t work, I need you to reset it for me.”

Advisor: “That’s not something we can help with.”

Caller: “Can you call my service provider and get them to ring me back?”


Advisor: “Do you need fire, police or ambulance?”

Caller: “I need an ambulance, my husband has lost his pyjamas and he cannot breathe without them.”


Advisor: “Do you need fire, police or ambulance?”

Caller: “Well it’s quite urgent my Rabbit has escaped, I need help.”


Advisor: “Do you need fire, police or ambulance?”

Caller: “Can I get the Police, someone has stolen my snowman from my garden, can you come quickly?”


Advisor: “Do you need fire, police or ambulance?”

Caller: “I need to cancel my hairdressers’ appointment, it’s an emergency and I can’t get through to the salon.”


Advisor: “Do you need fire, police or ambulance?”

Caller: “There’s a seagull with a broken arm.”

999 1 999 2 999 3 999 4


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