Emergency video relay

Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users can now call the emergency services in their first language.

Ofcom requires telecoms providers to make emergency video relay available in the UK. This will make it easier for deaf BSL users to get the help they need, such as police, ambulance or fire brigade, in emergencies.

Emergency text relay and emergency SMS will continue to be available alongside emergency video relay.

We would like to thank the deaf people who were involved in campaigning for this change, and who have provided advice to Ofcom.

To use emergency video relay, you will need a connected device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer. You can access emergency video relay via the 999BSL website or download the dedicated app.

Five things you should know about emergency video relay

  • It's available 24 hours a day
  • It's free to use
  • Emergency services treat 999 BSL calls exactly the same as voice 999 calls: they have the same priority and are answered by the same emergency control room staff
  • When you make an emergency video relay call, your location is normally provided to the emergency services (again, just like a voice 999 call)
  • The service is staffed by qualified and experienced interpreters

This video has been made by Ofcom. We are the UK’s regulator for communications services including broadband, home phone and mobile services, as well as TV, radio and post.