We all know that getting used to change can be difficult; there are those of us in a particular age group who still call some products by their original brand names; a ‘Snickers’ will always be a Marathon, Starburts used to be Opal Fruits, and, to me, Jif will always be the real name for the cleaning product we now know as Cif!
But what about how we call the Emergency Services – has that changed?
Some of you will already be familiar with the number 112. Yet many may not have come across it yet or maybe confused about what number to use in an emergency; or if 999 even still works.
In fact, a survey by Eurobarometer found that, only 19% of the population knew of 112 as the number to use in case of emergencies in a national context.
So, what number is right?
Well, rest assured that both numbers will work in Ireland and in an emergency you can use either one
999 was first introduced in London in 1937 following government inquiry into a house fire in 1935 that resulted in the deaths of five women. A neighbour who tried to call the fire brigade was held in a queue by the local telephone exchange!
The 999 system was introduced to the larger cities and towns in the United Kingdom and Ireland over the following 10 years. But, it was not until 1976, when telephone exchanges were fully automated, that the 999 system was completely rolled out.
With the arrival of push button telephones and subsequently mobile phones, there was a rise in the number of accidental calls from numeric keypads to the emergency service. The use of two digits in the emergency number instead of only one greatly reduces this risk.
The 112 number was adopted as a standard by European Union in 1991. It is now the pan-European emergency telephone number.
I should point out though that both 999 and 112 will work in Ireland and the UK. And that, in Ireland the 112 service is able to respond in French, German, Italian and Polish, as well as English.
Embrace the change
So, while we face similar challenges as those manufacturers when changing the brand names of their products, the time has arrived to try reprogram ourselves that 112 is now the new emergency number.
Like Marathon Bars and Opal fruits, I’ll always remember 999, but we should promote 112 to be standard, so that future generations will use it instinctively.
For further information see http://www.112.ie/
If you are traveling further afield one should make yourself aware of the local Emergency Number
p.s. Download your FREE Irish Red Cross First Aid App for your Smartphone and Tablet from the Apple App Store or from Google Play.
App Store: http://bit.ly/1eSWsHm
Google Play: http://bit.ly/17ZcvjN